I cross the finish line of Vidösternsimmet 21+km race at roughly 13:06. The start of the 6km race was a 14:00. It made for a stressful situation for me and probably for my wife too. I so wanted to just relax, enjoy the moment, talk to my friends and other finishers of the race to share “war” stories. Relax in the hot tub and eat. But there was not time for that. I go over to the registration to check that my wife already got my start kit, I rush to get my bag, turn on my phone and call my wife as I am walking up to the road. I never expected to finish so quickly, and she had her hands full with Lily getting ready for her race with the two little ones in tow. As I get to the road side, I see her pulling up. I try to smile, relax, and keep telling myself you have plenty of time now.
We place a rain coat on the front seat, I have my parka on and she drives me the 6km to the starting area while I still have my wetsuit on. I’m not thinking about much at this point. I am grateful for my wife being so understanding, and for my kids putting up with me during these 45 minutes. Lily is already at the start getting ready. She gives me some information about the start that I missed by not attending the pre-race meeting. I meet some other swimmers. Some of the other swimmers that I spoke with are relatively shocked when I tell them I just finished the 21km race. One jokes about this not being the first time he has to race against me, since he also swim the 5km race back in 2014.
15 minutes to start, I walk into the starting area to check in. As I am standing there wondering how this is going to go Lily comes up next to me smiling. I know she’s thinking, he has to be tired, I am going to beat him today…
The team for taking times comes up to check my chip one last time, since it was the same chip I had for the first race. With about 5 minutes left to the start I go in the water. There are two starting lines so I take my spot on the first line, with Lily to my right.
The start goes off. and I fall into the trap of swimming fast with everyone for about 125m, when I realize I was going to swim with Lily. So I look to the right, I find her and I guide her over to the left so we avoid swimming the crowd. Even though this race is only 6km, there is a land feeding station that you have to pass through. I had told Lily before the start that she can just go through, but I will have to stop for a coke and a gel. By the time we get there, there are 4 people ahead of us. Everyone has the same color caps and wetsuits on, so you do not know if they are man or woman, but I assumed it was three males and one female. The closest person behind us is already a few 100 meters behind.
As we leave the beach I explain to Lily I just swam this part of the course, so follow me for the shortest route to the finish line. Everything is going well. I can see how the four in front of us turns to just one, so three most have pulled away.
As we reach the halfway point there is the floating feeding station, and I stop for a coke, so did Lily, but I should have taken another gel. For the next 2000m or so, I can see how we are gaining on the swimmer in front of us. He/she stops to look back a lot, but makes a rookie mistake and swims very wide of the course. Around the 5500m mark, we are parallel with the 4th place swimmer. I can see that it is a kid, but not sure if it was male or female. I decide it would not be fair to have Lily swim in my draft as I approach the swimmer. So with just under 500m left to swim, I stop and let Lily swim by, pointing at the swimmer just to her right.
Lily and what turned out to be the 3rd place male had a good fight to the finish. Lily was out touched by less than 2 seconds, and finished 2nd among the 16 starters. I came in 4th among the 29 starters, about one minute behind Lily. Had I known that I had a fighting chance at third place I might have been able to dig deeper, but not sure. I started to get cramps in my arms as Lily swam away from me.
Lily was so happy to have beaten me in a straight up swim again each other. My wife, tipped off the speaker about Lily being my daughter, so he made a big deal about her finishing before me, but that is the last time I give her any kind of handicap advantage when it comes to swim races.
Me getting asked about losing to Lily
And she was second in the women’s class
My time was 1:41:55. I had hoped for 1.40, but all things considered ~1:42 was a good time.
After nearly a 9 hour day I had finished 27+km swimming. Closer to 28km based on my suunto.