Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Swim Across America OWS

The 2013 inaugural Atlanta Swim Across America Open Water Swim (OWS) event in Lake Spivey is done.  The event featured a 1-mile, 5K, and 10K swim course.  The 10K swimmers must have done 2 loops of the 5K course.
The swim courses
Volunteers assemble the ramp for swimmers to exit the water
The Lake Spivey Civic Association supported the event which raised money for the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  The goal of the event was to raise $250,000 for cancer research.  I think they met their goal.

I didn't swim, nor did I volunteer.  It just so happens that the Sunday, May 5th event fell right in the middle of my work week.  Susan and I did donate our two kayaks for use during the event and I did stop by before work on Sunday to take some pictures.
A volunteer monitors the swimmers on the course
The weather had been terrible on Saturday and for weeks before the event.  This spring was unseasonably cool which hadn't allowed the water temperature to rise in two months.  Fortunately, on Sunday the rain stopped and by around noon, when the event was pretty much over, the sun came out and it was beautiful.  I don't think the swimmers noticed the cloudy skies but I'm also sure that they didn't expect the cold water temperatures this late in the year.
The water temperature on April 7th
The water temperature on May 4th
The water temperature on April 7th was 62.5-degrees.  It was the same temperature on the Saturday, May 4th.  I'd bet that it was a degree or more colder by the time the swimmers hit the water on Sunday.
A swimmer just passing over the timing (did you make it back alive) mat
Wetsuits were a must for most of the swimmers but there were a few brave souls who swam without one.  There was one swimmer who started with a wetsuit and decided to remove it about a mile into the 5K swim.
Swam the 5K course without a wetsuit
At least one swimmer was treated for hypothermia
The event was dominated by swim teams and individuals from all over metro Atlanta and beyond.  Many of them were triathletes as well.
Clayton County EMS folks were well represented at the event, just in case
I can swim but I'm not a "swimmer".  This was my first swim-only event to ever watch and I learned a lot about how they are organized although, I wasn't a part of the organizing committee.  One can glean a lot just from watching.  Obviously, many of the participants and the Swim Across America folks were well aware of what was needed to pull off this type of event.  Kudos to the Lake Spivey Civic Association, the local LSCA committee members that helped, Olympian and Lake Spivey resident Steve Lundquist for bringing the event to our lake, and to the SAA folks.  I know that even in the best of conditions events like this can be daunting.  The thought of shepherding an army of volunteers, safety personnel, participants, and vendors is not one I relish.

I can't wait for next year's event.

Thanks for reading.
Swim Across America OWS