Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 Lowcountry Splash--Completed!

I completed my third Lowcountry Splash on Saturday, June 1. Although I didn't have my swim-buddy Tom with me, I still managed to enjoy the event and survive. Not like open-water swims are conducive to socializing anyway...except for the outstanding party that the Splash organizers host at the end of the event...but more on that later!

Click HERE to find out more about the Splash!

Of the three Splashes I've participated in, this was by far my favorite. The conditions were fabulous---no wind-induced chop, no harbor waves, no feeling like I was being tossed around in a washing machine once I passed under the bridge. We started at 7:30-ish, so almost slack tide. A little more push from an outgoing tide and the river current would have been okay, but the smooth conditions more than made up for that.

What a GREAT morning for a swim! (photo courtesy of Lowcountry Splash)

This year, the Splash included a 5-mile swim, along with the usual 2.4 miler. I did the latter, shorter swim, but 107 brave souls headed out from Daniel Island 30 minutes before our start for that race. To all of them, CONGRATULATIONS! A pretty spectacular feat. And, since many of the faster women who would have been competing in my age group swam that instead, THANK YOU! Because of that, I finished 5th in my age group (out of 15).

In the 2.4 mile race, I finished 186 out of 389 with a time of 52:03. Not my fastest, but because of changing current and tide conditions, it's impossible to compare times from one year to the next.  My relative ranking, right around the middle of the pack, has stayed consistent from year-to-year, right around 47-50%. My first year (2010, where I'm listed in the results as Lynn Hinkley) I had a 58:08 and finished 197/399, and in my second year (2011), I swam it in 48:25 (229/490). You can see from the times what a big difference conditions can make. The waves were horrendous in 2011--everyone felt like they'd been beat up--but times were fast thanks to a big push on the fast-moving outgoing tide.

While we didn't get much push from the current this year, it was still there, most notably at the start when we were trying to stay behind the start buoys and had to continuously swim back upstream. This years start struck me as all-sorts-of-different from previous years. I don't remember the starting area being so shallow. Lots of people walked through the mucky bottom to get there. A little too oozy for me and Lindsay Shuler, who I started with (and who beat me by 2 minutes in her first Splash swim--congratulations, Lindsay!) We moved out into deeper water. The start was single-wave, all 389 swimmers at once, rather than in 2-waves, based on estimated finish time, like they'd done in previous years. I think this was because of the 100 5-mile swimmers coming toward us. Whatever the reason, the start was more chaotic than I remember! It took a lot longer for the crowd to spread out than I recall from past swims, but maybe I always feel that way and block the horror of the mass-swim-starts from my mind!

And we're off! (photo from the Lowcountry Splash Facebook page)

Once I did have a bit of elbow (and leg) room, the swim was great--78 degree, smooth water, a sunny, mild day, and doing my favorite activity, swimming. What's not to love?

At the end of the race, the Splash organizers put on a great party, complete with music by Eddie Bush, lots of good food, beer (yes, breakfast beer at the 9:00-ish post-race party! Hurray!), dancing, and games. A good time was most definitely had by all!

The finish line at Patriot's Point Marina. (photo from the
Lowcountry Splash Facebook page.)

The Splash supports some great causes (The Logan Rutledge Children's Foundation and the Charleston County LAPS program, a learn-to-swim program for area schools) so it's  not only fun, but helps out a lot of people, too! I hope you'll all think about joining me in next year's swim--who knows, maybe I'll even try the 5-mile swim for my entrance into the 50-54 age group since I'll be aging up for next year's event!

For Splash results, and more info on the annual Lowcountry Splash, click here.

To see pictures from the Splash on Facebook (and to "like" their page), go here.

See you all in the pool!

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