Saturday, June 28th, 2014. Manhattan Island, New York City.
|MIMS 2014 group 2|
The 28th was scheduled to be a slow current day and to get windy in the late afternoon, so there was a big push to start the race early. We ended up jumping in the water at 7:30. The first thing a bunch of us said to each other was, "Wow, the water is so warm!" It was between 70 and 73 depending on the section of the swim. On Friday during the pre-race webinar, we were told that there were not enough kayaker volunteers and that they would need 4 volunteers to just swim with a support boat and no kayaker. This is what I have always done, so I volunteered. So, while most of the other swimmers kayakers found them and helped lead them around the southern tip of the island, I just started swimming, trying to stay in the crowd and follow some of the other kayakers. It seemed to be going okay, but then I noticed that I was a lot further out in the middle of the river than all the other swimmers. I veered in a bit and kept going, hoping that my support boat would find me soon. They eventually found me about 20 minutes into the swim. The boat captain was not used to being a guide and was just used to being a support, so he would switch whether he was on my right or on my left, sometimes he would go in front or back of me, and occasionally he was nowhere near me. This made it difficult for me to tell where I was going. I was having to spot a lot, and try and follow other swimmers and kayakers. I was really frustrated with this. By the time we reached Brooklyn Bridge, I was in last place. The current in the East River was so fast that we flew up that in about half an hour. The problem was that some of the swimmers had gotten to the Harlem River before the currents and tides had changed, so they had spent half an hour swimming in place. It was here that I caught up to the first group of 8 swimmers and stayed with them all the way to the end.
|Passing Yankee Stadium|
|George Washington Bridge|
About halfway down the Hudson my crew and paddler told me to sprint. They said there were 3 swimmers in front of me that I was gaining on and if I really pushed it, I would catch them. So I started sprinting. I kept sprinting and 2 hours later I finally passed one of the swimmers. My crew kept shouting at me to push harder. In fact, I got really pissed at them. They could see how close I was to catching another swimmer, so they decided to let me keep pushing and not waist time with a feed. I could tell they skipped one feed, and thought they might have skipped two. I had gotten pretty good at telling that half hour time period. My stomach was hurting, because I was so hungry. My mouth was dry and the water was by now really choppy. I kept thinking,"You get in this damn water and try and sprint without anyone letting you have any food, you little piece of S***! I can't push it harder if I don't have any energy!" Finally I stopped and told Sam I couldn't sprint anymore without a drink. That helped. About 45 minutes after that I saw that 20 feet in front of me was another swimmer. I really picked it up even more and I passed by him only a couple feet away. I continued to get further ahead of him and finished about 500 yards before him. The chop was pretty awful for the last 2 hours. Some of the time I couldn't see Sam, even though he was only a couple of feet away. I know I swallowed a bit of water here, and it was not particularly pleasant to swim in.
|The finish at Pier A|
I swam out to my support boat, and road with my crew back to Pier 25. My uncle, aunt, and cousin were there waiting and said they had watched my swim past them. I skipped out on the massage and dried off and got straight on the shuttle to the the restaurant, where I found Sam my paddler to sit next too.
I have completed my Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming goal and I am really happy to have done it. There were 4 of us who completed the Triple Crown in this group as well as my training partner Gordon Gridley who swam in the first group of MIMS. I am sure there are a few others too. I was the 87th person to complete the Triple Crown. I am always asked which of the three was the hardest. The answer is that they are so different they are hard to compare. All of them had their own challenges. For me, the English Channel was probably a little harder than the other two, because it was my first big open water swim.
I am planning several more swims for the future. Right now I am looking to do the Cook Straight next year and the Straight of Gibraltar with Gordon in 2016.