Jack King 1m Open Water Race Recap

Oh where to begin this race recap.  Every year, dad signs him and I up for the Jack King 1 Mile Swim.  When I used to be a competitive swimmer it wasn’t a big deal.  It was just 7 days of swimming a week versus 6.  But that is long removed from life and I’m lucky to haul ass to the pool once per week.  I could sit here and talk about my swimming back in my swimming prime but it isn’t relevant.  I don’t swim much anymore, therefore don’t compare myself to that speed, time or mentality.  I literally did this just to finish (which is good considering I got a nice 7 out 7 in my age group!

That being said, when dad informed me he had signed us both up (as well as my brother Matt) I couldn’t say no (meaning I was skipping so many great road races this weekend!).  This is the race I’ve done the longest (6 years!), it’s always so well put together and the people there are great.  So with that, we headed on our way to the race.  I have always enjoyed that swim races start at 10am, I would say it’s nice to sleep in but I don’t really do that so I just mused around.

Upon getting to the race at 9am, we realized…why the hell are we here so early.   Not once have I ever warmed up for an open water swim.  Not once have I ever gotten into the ocean or bay before a swim.  I normally just run in, prey to the high heavens my body doesn’t go into cardiac arrest from the temperature change and that’s that.

Before the Swim
Before the Swim

This time was no different, though it’s in water start.  I started right next to Matt…we were chatting and all of a sudden we heard people yelling to go.  That’s us.

I don’t really know what to tell you about open water swimming.  So here were all my thoughts:

I was taking in the sights of the pitch black water below me.   Yummy.

I took in the feeling of being pummeled several times by several waves.  YAY storm systems.

I took in a sight of some crazy tourists who came too far out.  YAY you need more clothes on.

I never saw the half way point (King Neptune Statue). Boo, it felt like the race was a marathon.

It got extremely chilly during the second half of the swim.  I have gotten hypothermia from an open water race in the middle of the summer before.  It took me nearly an hour to recover from that race and was in a med tent so I’ve always been weary about that.  Because of the storm, there was cloud cover and wind (hence the waves that VA isn’t supposed to have) but it also made it cold.

I was never so happy to see the buoy.  YAY orange buoy.

I did the left hand turn, followed the probably 90 year old man in front of me and ran into the beach.  I didn’t trip on the beach and they handed me my glorious 124th place (out of around 150).

And that is how it happened.

I did try as I don’t bag anything.  This was just a nice awakening of where my swimming fitness is..surprise…it’s not there.

After the swim
After the swim

As I told everyone, getting last in my age group is not a big deal .  I am simply bringing up the caboose to the pain train which still got to the station.

Oh joy maybe I’ll get into the pool for the next open water swim…when my arms aren’t sore.

Questions for you:

Does finishing last bother you?

What is your perfect race start time?

Between 8-9am for me

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  1. Yeah, pretty sure I would drown in an open water swim. Finishing last used to bother me (when I first skied in HS I finished last in 80% of my races). But I guess someone has to finish last! Perfect start for a race: anywhere from 7-9 am, or late evening.

  2. I haven’t ever come last, but in saying that I have come close and it didn’t bother me as I didn’t train just like you and did it for a bit of fun, but inwardly it also annoyed me a bit knowing where I was… The perfect race for me is actually in the arvo or at night when it’s hot, I’m not a morning person, I can train in the morning but I tend to race better in the afternoon!

      1. That’s funny you mention nerves as for some reason I get nervous for morning races but arvo xc races not as much, yes I am just weird haha 🙂

  3. I really need to learn to swim – I mean I can kind of – but I really suck at it! My perfect start time is usually 8 but the earlier the better in the summers!

  4. I think I would be terrified of an open water swim! I HATEEEE fish. I have thought about training for a triathlon but I know in the back of my head that unless it is in a pool I probably won’t do it…

  5. I’ve only done open water swims three times and it was only a 500 to get tested for beach certification. It terrifies me, I couldn’t imagine doing it for a whole mile. I think I could finish with little to no training even though it wouldn’t be pretty. Running and swimming always worked well together for me.

  6. Hey, you beat everyone who can’t swim, has never done an open water swim, or just didn’t show up for this one. I mean even if you came in last you did better than I could’ve done because my swimming is limited to dog paddling. And a swim race isn’t like a road race where you have a lot of walkers and strollers and joggers and people who are just there to participate, it seems like a swim race would be people who are frequent swimmers rather than people who just come out for a good time.

    I personally like early race starts. Right now I’d love a 7 AM start but that doesn’t really happen so I’ll take the 8 AM and bust out in the heat. But 10 AM would be neat in the winter because it would mean sleeping in!

    1. An open water swim race like is equal to only people running below 25 minute 5ks running a race.

      We have a ton of 7am starts around here. That is a little early for me but I eat a full meal beforehand.

      1. Comparing it to a race with only sub-25 5Kers makes a lot of sense. Yeah 7 AM start is early but I don’t blame you to eat, you gotta do what helps you perform.

  7. the one and only time I did an open water swim, I swam like a mad woman because I couldn’t see below me and it freaked me out! I like early race starts like 7 or 8, it also depends on the time of year though.

  8. Swimming in open water and not being able to see what’s below me is one of my biggest fears. I have this phobia of something lurking down there and dragging me under 😯 So, last or not, I still give you mad props for being able to do it.

  9. Honestly, yes I would mind coming last. A lot. But that’s because I have an inferiority complex dating back to coming last at EVERYTHING sports related at school. I don’t mean age-group, I mean dead freaking last in every race, usually with 30 odd classmates jeering at me and sometimes throwing things (seriously, I’m not joking). So I have constant panic attacks before races, thinking that I will be last again, and how ashamed of myself I will be. With your athletic background you don’t need the constant vailidation of doing well – you’re an athlete no matter where you place, but I’ve done enough placing last in the first fifteen years of my life to last a lifetime.

    Just finishing that kind of race seems amazing to me – I couldn’t swim in open water for a million pounds.


  10. You can come swim my 1.2 at Musselman for me if you’d like a redo….. This is seriously awesome that you were able to do it with dad and bro, such an awesome family affair. Finishing last, hmmmm I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. But I would expect to be dead last if I did a swim only race. so thats that.

    Perfect start time is 8ish. Get up early but not too early to get ready!

    1. I have finished last plenty of times in 6,8,10,12 lane pools…let’s be honest. I’ve also finished last in races with 100 people in multiple heats. LOL!

  11. I’m glad you enjoyed it, especially since you did this with your dad and brother! I really want to do some stand alone open water swims but there aren’t many around here. I’ve only been to Virginia Beach once but we did go see the Neptune statue.

    Finishing last wouldn’t really bother me now, it used to when I was younger, but now all I care about is my own personal growth not where I place within the ranks.

  12. I like when races start early like 7:30-8 so it’s not too hot by the time you’re in the middle of the race. If it’s a 5k, then 8-9 is better I guess! And congrats on the finish… I wouldn’t mind being last because I still would have done it. It’s just another check off in MY book so I could care less about my place haha!

  13. Coming in last is no biggie. Somebody has to do it. I always figure, as long as you aren’t last by, like, an hour, it’s not like they’re all waiting around for you so whatever.

    Your description of open water swimming is pretty spot on. It’s kind of disorienting and you lose all sense of distance and time. I get out and look at the clock and I’m like “really? I was in that long?”

  14. Yay for open water swimming! I haven’t done an ocean swim yet… I’d be super nervous about the waves!

    Finishing last doesn’t bother me because I’m not really compteitive. As long as I’m having fun and not dying then I’m happy 😉

  15. Hun you haven’t swam for racing purposes in quite some time and are not training for that (hello NYC marathon duh!) I think this is a great thing to put out there. This was more for the tradition and the experience. As long as you had fun I would say it was an awesome race

  16. Open-water swimming sans wetsuit? Wow! That’s great you did it with your dad and brother too. I would love to do a straight-up OWS event. I’d definitely get my butt handed to me, but I bet it would be fun.

  17. That’s amazing, I literally cannot fathom swimming that far, in open water!
    My perfect race time, 7am. I don’t like to eat before I run, yet wake up freakishly early so an early start is awesome!

  18. It never bothers me to finish last because I’m always just trying to improve on my own times, not beat other people necessarily. However, it is motivating to have other people to race against. My perfect race start time is 7:30 to 8:00. Love an early start when it’s still nice and cool!

  19. Finishing last only bothers me when I was actually hardcore trying. If I’m just treating the race or whatever as a fun thing I could care less what place I come in, but if I’ve trained and I wanna do well it bothers the hell out of me.
    A good race time for me would be like 8 or 9. Not too early, but not too late. Just right.

  20. At least you made it! I would of had to backstroke in order not to drown, LOL! Finishing last in running would definitely bother me. Finishing last in swimming, not so much, it’d be expected.

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