Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Great visibility in the Caymans:

Awesome stingray in Belize:

Saturday, May 06, 2006

St. Anthony's Swim 2006
Current mood: accomplished

The swim was totally brutal. Four minutes into the race, I turned around to quit. The only thing that kept me in was seeing how far I'd already made it from shore. Every time I pulled my head up to breathe, I got a face full of seawater up my nose. I joked to one of the kayakers that some folks pay a fortune for saline nasal spray, and here we are getting as much as we want for FREE. The newspaper said 60 people were rescued out of the water and that the waves were so bad that the support crew's kayaks were getting overturned. Two women had to be resuscitated by CPR. Having made it through a mile of this, I can say with absolute certainty that I will never drown.

Don't take my word for it. Read some comments from some of the triathlon forums regarding the swim.

james reeves: The waves were big, I was all alone, and it appeared as though I would never make it to the first turn. Did some breast stroke to try to calm down. It didn't work. This feeling lasted until half way through the cross leg.

NYTriGal: Very choppy so it was hard to sight on the buoys. On the way out to first turn every time I looked up I caught face full of water.

Ron: THE SEAS WERE ANGRY THAT DAY MY FRIENDS Wow. All I'm used to is the frigid Ohio lakes that remain relatively calm. This was warm...but....tumultuous. The first 1/4 mile I did mostly breast-stroke and side-stroke. Catching my breath wasn't the issue, it was trying to find some rythm in this water between swells. I hung on the rail and almost fell down getting out. Being in an angry ocean for 45minutes then on solid land is a little disorientating.

Sue7013: This swim was totally brutal. The waves were 4-5 foot I am told. I could not see the bouys for most of the swim. First leg you could only breathe right, second leg left. There is a lot of Tampa bay missing and in triathletes tummies!!

JlDiCarlo:Wow. IMHO the current and chop were pretty nasty. I never got in a good rhythm. I'd get a few strokes in (sts) and then I'd be flying through the air crashing down with a wave. LOTS of people breast stroking. I imagine it was in an attempt to see the buoys which were VERY hard to see over the swells. I ignored the buoys for awhile using people and the pier to sight, but finally I had to start looking for the first turn buoy to give myself a warm fuzzy and it took about 5-10 sightings to finally catch a glimpse of it. Stupid waves.

Rmaldon240: The waves are pretty big at this point. I walk until I can't walk anymore then I start to swim, sort of. I go about 4 strokes then I breath / swallow a good mouthful of sea water. ( seawater tastes really bad.) I force myself to attempt to swim again, I go another 4 strokes then I look up and I notice a lot of my fellow green caps are on their backs or doing the side stroke or in one guys case doggy paddling. I try to catch my breath but I am getting tossed around by the waves. Have I mentioned my healthy RESPECT of the water? I don't want to call it Fear. I was more CONCERNED for my survival than actually being ASKEERED. I think to myself that while this seemed like a great idea back in January right now in April while getting hit by 4 ft waves it's not such a great idea so much. lol

It takes me about 10 minutes to get to the first Buoy and I realize that the whole freestyle thing is not working out for me so well so I flip on my back, get slammed by a wave and swallow even more sea water than my first nice, big gulp. At this point the ladies in the white caps that started in the wave behind me start to catch up. I consider giving up. I have never quit anything in my life.

At that point I just try to make it from one buoy to the other. I float on my back, I freestyle, I side stroke, I breast stroke and before I know it the red caps that were 2 waves behind me and the silver caps in the final wave have all passed me by.

There were two other green caps that were struggling as much as I was and every time they pulled ahead of me I forced myself to catch up. By the time we get to the second yellow buoy, the turn towrds the shore. It's just me and one other green cap. The doggy paddler. He starts throwing up. He vomits straight ocean water and a whole lot of it. A nearby kayak tries to get over to him but the waves are too much. I ask the guy if he is OK and in between vomiting he says "I'll make it". I swim over to the guy in the kayak and he tells me the waves must be 5 feet high. I needed to hear that like I needed a hole in my head.

Anyway, I figure this is my opportunity to beat one person in my wave.LOL I finally get close to the stairs but I have to keep stopping. I have nothing left. I have great video of me 100 feet from the stairs stopping twice and disappearing behind the waves. It feels like the waves are bouncing off the sea wall and make it even worse. I finally get to the stairs and a 90 pd, 15 year old sticks out her hand to help me out of the water. I was dizzy, and I was tired and I felt that I might pull her in but I took her hand just the same.

Going up that staircase was one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life.