Friday morning I pack my bag and Lilys bag in my car. we are heading in different directions for different swim competitions. Lily is off her for final meet of the season and I am off for my first OW race of the year.
Around 0930 I drop Lily off at the pool to ride with her friends and I head over to pick up Hampus. Once I have Hampus we drive to Pärs place where we leave my little Honda and take a larger car for the 7 hour trip up to Fredrik’s cabin. The way up is relative uneventful. Vättern was unusually calm, we stop for lunch at Max, another coffee break just before reaching Dalarna.
We arrive to the cabin, unpack our car, get settle in our room and then enjoy a nice pasta dinner with Fredrik, his daughter and dad before calling it a night.
We wake up around 0600 and have breakfast. we get on the road just before 0700. Being tired and not paying attention, we miss our turn at a rotary and wind up driving an extra 40km to get to Vansbro. Once we arrive, we park the car, make our way to the finish area to pick up our swim caps and timing chips. The first heat starts at 10:00 and our group will start 10:20, so just after 09:15 we head to the starting area. I really love the feeling of being in the starting area at Vansbro. Over 600 swimmers in the first few heats all standing around talking about anything and everything. around 09:45 things start to get a little more serious and 5-8 minutes before our start, they allow us down to the water to warm up.
4 minutes before our start is the start of the para swimmers this year only 3 in that group. But one poor swimmer in my group didn’t hear very well, and when that group started, he took off too. I still do not know if the race organization was able to identify him (and reduce his time) or if he got a 4 minute head start on the rest of us.
10.20 and we start. I take the first 400-500m really easy. I flow with the group, moving over to the left to avoid being trapped on the right side. once the river turns to the right, I am slowly able to position myself in the middle of the lake, never feeling trapped by other swimmers. Around the time I start to wonder how far I had swum, I see the 1000m buoy and feel really good. I continue with my own pace and start to notice how I am actually passing people. from 1250-2100m I think manage to pass other swimmers all the time. After the turn towards the finish line I no longer have any idea about the other swimmers to my left. I can only see the ones in front of me. I do my best to swim a little harder and again manage to pass a few people as we swim upstream the last 800-900m. as we pass the 2600m point I start to imagine how it is to swim in our lake, and swim faster and faster. At this point in the race I am no longer passing any swimmers, but everyone is doing their best to hold their position. I finish and felt I did my best, I could not have swam any faster today than I did. it takes a while before I can see a clock and it reads 42:??. I realize direct that I was not under 40 minutes, but under 42 was better than being over 45. Just like 2017, as I start to comb the crowd for my friends I start to see them one at a time. It felt like everyone I knew had finished before me. But it does not get to me this year. I am happy that they swam well. after all I am the coach. And if my swimmers did not swim well I would not be a good coach.
After we are all together we take a group photo, shower, eat and then head back to the cabin in time to watch the World Cup match with Sweden.
After the match everyone helps out with food and we end our day with a nice BBQ and drinks
And of course Fredrik showed us how is Potato canon works.
På söndag bestämde vi att åker lite tidigare för att ser om vi kunna heja på våra triathlon vänner som körde Jönköping 70.3. vi hann bara ser några få springa sin siste kilometer innan de gick i mål. Även den korta stund i Jönköping gjorde att jag bli sugna att börja cykla igen och börja fundera på hur mycket jag hinner träna innan nästa sommar.
It is good to see that this “race” can still develop/improve after 68 years. 7200 swimmers came to the start of the 3km and only 60 people did not finish their race.
The quality of the top swimmers just keeps getting better. Even if the average time of everyone remains constant, the top 100 time gets faster and faster every year.
My first swim in 2007 I finished in 45:15. I was only 15 seconds from my goal time. but I finished 111th among men, and was hoping for top 100. That year top 100 time was 44:20. to be in the top 100 among men this year you had to swim under 40:00, 39:40 to be more exact.
My teammates managed better than me this year. Hampus swam 36:26 (27th), Pär 38:12 (62), Per 39:08 (82) and Fredrik 40:26 (115).
I managed to swim over the finish line in 41:24 (136). I guess I can be happy that I swam faster than I did in 2007, when I was just getting back into the pool and weighed 108kg.
But it hurts a little to see that I managed to swam faster every year (expect 2010 when I was hurt) until I started to train for triathlons.