When we got there we quickly signed waivers and got ready to go. Apparently there was only one boat so the fast swimmers were supposed to start and the slow swimmers were supposed to get on the boat. I brought along my Swimming Buddy so I could get a GPS reading and also stash my feeds. There wasn't much of a debriefing at all as far as the format of the swim so I was very much confused.
Half the people were on the boat and getting their gear together and half were on the dock. And then Vito's dog was causing a scene and chasing geese, and also jumping in the water following Vito on his swim. It was quite chaotic to say the least. But I sensed some frustration from Jamie and he told us all to just get in the water and get going, so I hustled as fast as I could, and got my stupid board assembled and loaded up, but I was already behind and the fast people already had a 100 yard head start on me. After swimming for about 15 minutes, Jamie pulled up along side and asked if he could stow the board. I said "Sure". There goes my GPS data, and my feeds. I'll just have trust that the support boat will be nearby to offer me my feeds.
I caught up with Vito, and Cathy and Goody after swimming side by side with them I pulled ahead a little, but the noticed that Jamie was picking up the back of the pack and then he dropped us off ahead of the pack and told us to continue swimming along shore and around the bend and to stay within 100 yards of shore. We did that. We swam and swam and I took a water temp with my watch: 72 degrees. Still very warm and quite comfortable. We caught up with Lisa and Lexie. We all grouped up and Lexie and Lisa said they were hungry and wanted a feed so they swam towards the boat.
|Lynn Kubasek, Lisa, Jamie and Andrew having some lunch|
I was actually looking forward to swimming back to the boat ramp, unassisted, and without worrying about whether I'm holding up the group. I noticed that when I swam about 100 yards I'd look behind me on a breath, and Goody and Cathi were stopped talking. I stopped and watched, they were chatting, so I swam back to find out what the problem was. They were pretty annoyed at the thought of being left behind, and I would agree, however, I didn't feel like our lives were in danger and figured worst case scenario, we just swim back to the marina and get the car. Cathy said she wasn't sure she really should be putting alot more stress on her ankle and was frustrated that she couldn't get in the boat. Her ankle was giving her trouble and wasn't able to swim much on it. So I had two decisions at this point.
- Leave our little group behind and try to catch up with the group, which at this point, I couldn't even see the boat, and there was no way I could do it. I'm just not that fast.
- Stay with them and either encourage them to keep swimming or try to find help.
|Renactment of actual event.|
|Would you stop or keep going?|
I honestly was not upset at all. Actually I was more disappointed than angry. With Steven in our group and host of the Open Water Safety Conference, I was a little embarrassed, as this situation very well could have been avoided with better planning, and communication. There was something to learn from this, and while it's inappropriate to point fingers, it is important to actually debrief and come to a conclusion on what could have been done differently to prevent something like that in the future. A couple of things I would suggest:
- Increased communication: I had no idea of the format of the swim, where we were going, how long we were supposed to swim, how often the boat would be by to offer a feeding or a drink. Who my "buddy" was... etc...
- There should have been at least one more boat. When you have such a large group (I think it was about 20 swimmers for a 10 person boat), such widely varied swimming speeds, its difficult to maintain visuals on all of them, and nobody was told to "accordion swim". Just to stay close to shore and keep an eye on the boat and to "wait up" if we were too far from the boat. But not really how "too far" is.
|Jen and Jamie enjoy some conversation after lunch.|
Any way when we got back to the cottage, it was still early in the afternoon and we had a very delicious sandwich and I tried to re-hydrate. I downed 4 x 16 ounce orange Gatorades. I was totally exhausted. Not all from swimming, but from being in the sun so long. The sun really takes it out of you!
I had some great conversation with Jen Schumacher, Evan Morrison, Cathy. Lots of subjects, and it really made me think. I had to say goodbye to Karen who was going home to Truckee, and Suzie who has been such a great person to hang out with.
I know I shouldn't have favorites, but I'd have to say that Lynn Kubasek sure is on my top ten list of favorite people at camp. She is so upbeat and happy, that is such a great attribute!