I’m so happy to report that I survived the Alcatraz swim!
And a little sad to report that I didn’t even see one shark. So disappointing. The swim was ok. If you like open water swimming, I think the event is probably great. It was very well organized and I felt safe the entire time. But I really don’t think I like open water swimming.
The morning started very early – it was dark and cold.
I think we (my cousin and I) got down to water at around 6:15 am. We got our caps and t-shirts, then sat in the car until we just couldn’t wait any longer…and then we stood outside with all the other crazy people. The swim starts at Alcatraz so everyone gets on a couple of boats to get out there. You don’t go back to the boats so you can’t take anything with you. So yeah, you’re just waiting in your wetsuit, cap, and goggles. No shoes, no shirt, no phone. We were basically naked.
We were split into two groups and loaded on to the boats. The sun had started coming up and it was a pretty nice ride out…until we starting thinking about jumping off the boat. They stop the boats and there are already a bunch of kayakers in the water to escort us
stupid swimmers to shore. We got a brief recap of instructions and within a few minutes, people were jumping off the side of the boat.
We were told to jump off quickly and move away from the boat so that everyone can get in the water at almost the same time. There were 99 swimmers. They want everyone to get in pretty quickly because of the current and boat traffic. I jumped in, had a mild panic attack, couldn’t breathe for a while, moved away from the boat, turned over on my back, and did backstroke until I caught my breath. I’m very comfortable in the water so I was surprised that I kind of freaked out when I first jumped in. I think it was just the cold, the jumping, the anticipation of all of it.
There were definitely people who jumped in, freaked out, and were hanging on the side of the kayaks. I just turned over and started swimming. And swimming. And swimming. It felt like I was swimming forever and going nowhere. I was also zigzagging all over the place because it was impossible for me to swim in a straight line. OMFG.
Did I enjoy it? No. Would I do it again? Probably not. I was pretty bored and it was hard to get into a swimming groove because I had to constantly check where I was going. Am I so happy I did it? YES!!
It was also awesome to do the swim with my cousin (although we didn’t swim together). I think it would have been a better experience if I’d actually done some open water training, but I just didn’t have time.
You can see Alcatraz in the background in the picture below, but it’s a bit deceiving because we couldn’t swim straight to the beach from there because of the current.
It was still pretty cool to see Alcatraz from the beach, though. And I got this great t-shirt!
And now, I’m in Maine for the US Masters Nationals Artistic Swimming Championship! Yep, more swimming. I arrived last night and spent the morning at the pool cheering on a couple of duets that are swimming from my club. These are three of my teammates:
My team swims tomorrow and Sunday. Am I freaked out? Yes, of course I am. Pretty much losing my sh*t every 30 minutes or so. Woohoo!
Wish us luck!!