Chesapeake Bay Swim- 1 Mile

This past Sunday I swam in the 1 mile Chesapeake Bay Swim.  I know, another open water race.  I love these things though!
Last January, when the lottery opened for the 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, I told my dad I wanted to swim it this year.  He said, great!  I'll sign up too and we can do it together!  Well, lo and behold, he was accepted into the lottery and sadly, I was not.  He decided to stay in the race anyways- he had completed it twice before and figured it would be awesome to say he had also completed a 4.4 mile swim in his 60s.
After waiting through a couple more lottery selections where I wasn't picked, I signed up for the 1 mile swim the second it opened up!  And here we are.  I was on the Eastern Shore side of the bay bridge, ready to race a small triangle mile, while my dad was on the opposite shore, ready to swim 4.4 miles between the bridges.
So we (many of my Columbia Masters swimmers were here, including Traci, who kicks my butt in practice and I just figured I would try to keep by her for this) filed down into the (seaweed and gross infested) water.  I was so thankful I was wearing a wetsuit, otherwise I might have turned around right there.  Little known fact about me based on how many open water races I do- I am really scared of open water.  I have luckily forced myself to get to a point where I can shut those thoughts out of my mind and just refuse to think about them while swimming, but the second I touch something I wouldn't in a pool (leaves, sticks, seaweed, fish, jellyfish...) I freak out and need to get out of the water immediately.  True story.  I stop where I am, tread water frantically for a bit, and figure out the fastest way back.

So like I said, good thing I was wearing a wetsuit.
I followed Traci into the water, and we worked our way left, since we were headed left out to a buoy, where we would hang a right, swim parallel to shore for a little, then hang another right and head back.  Future picture will show the whole course.  We would be ending back here, which was also where the 4.4 swimmers would finish much later.  So wave 1, the neon yellow caps, are ready and waiting for the start.
I'm the one in the black wetsuit and neon yellow cap being kicked, dragged backwards, and otherwise abused.  As this picture was being taken, I was swearing to never do this race again, because that start was so annoying.
But then the water opened up a bit, and I just stayed ahead of most people, haha.  It's always nice to have open water in front of you- especially when dealing with waves already, because who needs someone pulling you backwards and swimming on top of you.  Actually, at this point I think I'm in one of the middle clumps with people still abusing me, but whatevs, I was clear of them soon enough.  So we're headed to the buoy I marked with a 1 in the picture, we turn right from there, head towards 2, and then back into shore to the start/finish.
Check out our entourage in this last picture!  So many kayaks keeping us company, but see the huge tankers and barges in the background, just waiting for the bridge traffic to reopen!  Then wave 2, red/orange caps lined up.
We're almost to the 1st buoy?  Maybe?  Who can say.  Haha

Wave 3, green caps jumped into the mix.
 This picture below you can see green caps on the course, red caps halfway to the buoy, and some yellow caps paralleling shore on their way to the 2nd buoy.  Based on my finish time, I'm definitely one of the yellow caps paralleling shore right now.  Can you find me??
And wave 4, pink caps, at the start.  I think the waves were 5 minutes apart, and the first place guy went 17 minutes something, so they only had a couple minutes to get out of his way!
You can see the yellow caps coming in, with these pink caps headed out.  Our wave assignments were solely based on the order in which you signed up for the race.  So remember I said I signed up the second it opened?  That's why I was in wave 1.  I think it was definitely a help, since it meant I wasn't going to run into anyone from a heat before me.  I'm good at sighting the buoys, so it didn't matter that I didn't have many people to follow.
You can barely see a person in a wetsuit and yellow cap walking up the finish, in the right of this picture, it's me!  I was 16th in my wave (beat by 14 people under the age of 16, and one 35-39 male), with a time of 21:10.  So with 3 more waves after me, I wouldn't stay that close to the top, but then I ended up not dropping far!  I ended up winning my age group, getting 7th out of 224 females, and 22nd overall out of 441 swimmers.
Oh yeah, fantastic shot of me.  But I'm done!  I managed to beat all of the Columbia Masters swimmers I was there with, and plenty of people I don't know, obviously, haha.  I got an awesome plaque to commemorate too!

Oh, and as usual, my mom was around to take these pictures for me.  She had started on the other side of the bridge with my dad, said good luck to him, and managed to run into me out of so many people very easily on this side before the race!  So once I had washed off a bit and changed out of my suit, we hung out in the shade (since it was hooootttt) waiting for the 4.4 milers to arrive.

We got out of the shade long enough to watch the winner come in.  He was flying!  I was so impressed, it was so cool to watch!  So then we went back into the shade, and around when we thought Dad would finish, headed over to the fence to watch the finishers coming in.

We finally saw him come in, recognized his stroke, but also knew he would stand up as soon as he could (unlike me, who also refuses to touch the bottom unless I can't physically swim anymore because it's too shallow).  He picked us out of the huge crowd, waved, and walked up the finish line!

After he was rinsed off a little as well, Mom took our picture together.
We both finished a Bay Swim, and Nanticoke swim this year, just of varying distances.  He said next year he would be happy to watch me do the 4.4, or maayyybe he could be talked into the 1 mile.  Haha, well that's bay swim #3 completed for him.  I need to catch up!

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