At the Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge we put on about a month ago, me and fellow OSB Master's swimmer, Erik, were only separated by one second. The men and women started in different waves so it wasn't like we actually swam together (the men started 5min ahead), but when I saw the results I milked it for all it was worth. See, Erik is a MUCH faster swimmer than I am in the pool - we don't even swim in the same lane! And because I'm so endearing, I said to him (at least once a week): "Hey, Erik. 1 second." And then I would smile. He knew I was kidding and therefore just laughed and told me he couldn't wait for the showdown at the Big Deuce. I laughed, too, and knew paybacks were hell.
I helped with packet pickup the night before and then the morning of, which was really busy. Thank god Kari came early. I barely said hello; just barked a couple of orders at her and she got to work helping me check people in. We shut down pickup at 7am since the race was to go off at 7:15. We had just enough time to get in the warm water and splash around a bit.
This was a beach run in start - yay! I took off high stepping and dolphin dove my way right behind Kim Rice before a bunch of people swam on by. We took a left at the first turn buoy and many more people swam by me. It was a two loop swim and my plan was to take it very conservative the first loop and a half, before trying to pick it up towards the end. Towards the end of the first loop, I took a bad line and saw a string of people over to my right that I really wished I was with. They put some distance on me before I could correct myself and angle towards the buoy, and were long gone by the time I got there. It would've been nice to get some draft out there, but sometimes it doesn't work like that.
We had a canoe just after the first lap in case people needed to stop and get some water or gatorade (the water temp was around 86 degrees). I wasn't going to waste any time stopping, though. Almost halfway through the second loop and I see this man swimming right next to me...hey, I recognize that stroke...it's Erik! I tried to smile and say "Hey!!" while I was breathing, but this is actually much harder in reality than it was when I was thinking it. I took the next turn buoy really tight (about 1/2 mile to go now) and thought, "Oh, it's ON!" I really tried to pick it up and added in a kick - unfortunately there was some wind chop on this side so it was a little more difficult to get a good long stroke in, but I noticed he wasn't next to me anymore. Go go go! I can do this! I was nearing the last turn buoy to head home when I decided to take a long breath and glance behind me - and guess who was right on my feet. DANGIT!!! The final turn in he turned it on big time and even though I knew I had NO chance of outsprinting him (which was why I tried to drop him before the end), I thought just maybe he wouldn't get out of the water quick enough and I could run by him at the end - I wasn't above elbowing him at the line for the 'win' ;) But no dice, he ran out of the water and got me by 4 seconds. I'm thinking I might hear, "Hey Bri. 4 seconds." A lot in the coming Master's practices.
Incidentally, it occurred to me on the extremely hotter than Hades bike ride we did with a group of friends after that I have now done more open water swims this year than triathlons! What is up with that?!