Swedish Open Water Nationals

With little to no speed training this summer I thought it would be fun to take Lily back to Gothenburg for a 2500m race to end the season since she seemed to like it last year.

So we make it a family getaway weekend. We book a cabin and day passes for Liseberg.

Saturday morning, we wake up early and drive to Liseberg amusement park, they open at 11:00 and we get to the parking lot at 10:45.  Despite the rain everyone seemed to be having fun. Lily and Iris go off on their own for the first two hours, while Viola rides with Jeanette and I. We have express passes for a few rides that Viola won’t go on, so her and I stay in the kids area until lunch.

After lunch we do the “lazy river” Colorada and the log ride.  It’s raining so much that we are already wet. Just after 15:00 Lily and I head to the lake for the first ever mixed relay 4x1250m. There are 28 teams. A combination of the best in Sweden, rookies and some masters.  It’s windy, rainy and the waves won’t be fun.

We have Hampus (30) lead off. He’s got the best chance at a good swim in a mass start. We didn’t get any splits but looking at my watch he managed his leg just under 19 minutes.

Alice (15) and Lily (14) swim the second and third legs of the relay and swim well. We lose a few spots, but today was about testing the course, being apart of the first OW relay at Nationals and of course having fun.

I (45) got the honors of swimming the last leg. Based on our total time I assume I also swam around 19 minutes.  Before the start I thought we would swim under 1:20, but the course seemed to be longer than 1250m.   Next year it would be fun with a masters team and a kids team or two from Växjö.  It only takes a little extra planing in June to either book cabins or rooms at a hostel. Most of the swimmers seemed to be walking from the train up to the lake and back with no problems.

After the relay Hampus, Lily and I get some pizza, I check Lily into our cabin since she didn’t want to get rained on any more, I bring Hampus back to his camper near the lake and head back to Liseberg to hang with Jeanette and the little ones. There is only time for a few rides before Viola shows signs of being extremely tired.  But before we leave we try our luck at the games.  We go 3 for 3 as a family and take home three 2 kg packages.

Back to our cabin and unpack the wetsuits and hang all our wet clothes. Everything that was not in the car all day is wet. But everyone gets into bed and can relax a little before it’s lights out.

Sunday it’s time for senior, masters and youth nationals. I wake up around 0700, head to breakfast and about 0815 Jeanette drives me to the lake so I can watch Hampus. Jeanette and the girls would have breakfast after and then join me at the lake just before my swim at 10:20

Seniors and juniors swim 5km, masters and youth swim 2500m.

Hampus is first out in the 5km. It’s a tough field of young pool stars, but Hampus decided to swim 5km over Masters 2500m.  It was hard to follow him in the race, the speakers only mentioned the top three swimmers names as they passed by.  But I was able to see when he rounded the buoy closest to the beach. Hampus finishes about 5-6 minutes before my swim, so I was not able to follow his last 1250 as I needed to get ready for my race.

I met a mom from the race last Sunday in Stenungsund, she remembered that I was from Texas, and mentioned to her friends that I raced against her son last Sunday. She also told them how I had raced Vidöstern the day before.  She asked why I was on land and not swimming.  I joked that I was too old to be fighting with the kids swimming the 5km.

Masters OW Nationals 2500m
In all there 58 people registered to start, but only 6 on the starting line that I’m concerned about. Turns out one was a no show in my age group. In the past I’ve always liked to have the field of swimmers on my right so that I can see them.  But for the last two years i prefer to swim in the more open water.  So today I line up on the far right and I can’t see the field, only a fellow swimmer that didn’t want to have to fight the first 100m either. One minute left to start, I grab the line, and talk shortly with Robert about Vidöstern. 10 seconds to start, heart rate goes up. The start horn goes off and so do we. The first 25-50m feels ok, as we reach 100m I need to start to move to the left as to swim straight to the first buoy.  It was not easy moving over, and by 200m I start to have troubles breathing, I am annoyed about the way my goggles are not perfect any more. I decide to force my way to the first turn around buoy and will swim an extra 5m to get out of the way, adjust my suit and goggles.  It would be so much better for me to get it over than to struggle for 2100m.  As I get to the buoy the swimmers are already spread out. I stop for 15-20s, I open my wetsuit, I adjust my goggles, I see the volunteers on the boat showing concern for me, so I give them a thumbs up, and go back to my swimming.

Wow, everything felt so much better. I can swim the way I wanted.  I slowly move past quite a few of the swimmers that had passed me while I was standing still. As I approach the roughly 650m mark I am alone with swimmers both in front and behind me. But I have no idea who is who, only I do not want any white swim caps to pass me.  As we make our way to the 975m buoy we start to pass swimmers from the earlier 5km race. It makes navigating easier using their heads as swim buoys 😉  As I make the turn at 950m there is a swimmer in front of me swimming about the same pace, and it was a red cap, so i figuired I could swim behind her.  As we make the halfway turn to go back out on the  second lap I notice that she is not swimming all that straight.  So I decided to increase my underwater catch, and slowly make my way around the right of her.  I eventually have to swim in front of her again to get back on a straight line. for the last 1000m I swim my own race.  I have no idea if she is on my feet, or fell behind.

As I make the turn around 2100m I can again see more swimmers in front of me, but I can not see if they are masters or the last of the 5km swimmers.  I do my best to swim harder with out increasing my stroke rate.  I really want to give it my all, even if I am not used to that. I look left while swimming, look right and back as I breath.  I can not see anyone trying to overtake me at the finish, but I swear I can hear splashing that doesn’t seem to match my stroke.  I press onward.  I get the finish line, hit my hand on the plate and feel good about my swim.  A few moments later I look up at the display clock and see 10:59.  We started at 10:20 so I know I managed to swim under 40 minutes.  But by how much I have no idea.  Then I look around and don’t see all that many swimmers.  Turns out I was the 9th Masters swimmer to finish.  I only know what one of the other 45-49 swimmers looks like.  When I see that Daniel finished behind me I started to think, hmmm I might have finished top three. I try not to think about that, but take in my swim and how good I felt for the last 70% of the race.

I talk for a while with Hampus while Lily and Alice are in the water about to start.  The 16-17 year olds left just as I got out of the water and the 13-15 year olds would start at 11:05.

I stand there talking with Hampus, and other that just finished their race, while trying to find Lily among all the swimmers.  when she passes the 600-650m I take the opportunity to go get a jacket and my phone from my bag.  I say hi to my wife and kids as  I look at the result list on my phone, hit refresh.  I see that I was 9th, sort after age and get surprised that I actually won!  My goal time that I mentioned to Daniel on Friday was to swim down around 38:30, but under 40.  I think the tough start and the pause around 350m cost me the 38:30, but I was well under 40!

The first place finishers Masters Men.

Alice and Lily start right after I finish my race.

They both swim well in the 13-15 girls age group. Lily was hoping to swim under 40 minutes but the course was longer than 2500m so her time 40:54 was really good. Can’t wait to see how she does next summer.

PS I can now have 10 months to say I am faster than Lily in OW 🙂

2 thoughts on “Swedish Open Water Nationals

  1. Grattis!! Hur lång var banan i år i verkligheten? Vet att det gick rykten redan förra året om att den var lite för lång!


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