Swim Across Lake Monticello

Swim Across Lake Monticello

I decided on a whim to do the Swim Across Lake Monticello. Why not? I was there, it was free, and it looked to be fun. The ten days prior before the race, I hadn’t been swimming. I was busy with a new job and swimming was the first thing that went away. Not a big deal and some things have to give.

The swim was directly across from where we were staying, so we had to drive about 6 miles around the lake to get there. I think it should be a fun, low-key free event, but it brought about 160 swimmers and was intense. Although anything where high school swimmers sign up, seems to be intense.

Swim Across Lake Monticello

Before the Swim Across Lake Monticello:

Beforehand, I had no idea how far the Swim Across Lake Monticello was. Judging by the lake size, I guessed it was anywhere from 200-800 yards. Upon arriving I noticed how intense it was. It was just like a typical swim race that you pay for.

The race director said I needed to because I had never participated in the race. It made sense, but it was comical. I swam to one of the buoys and back twice. It ended up being about 100 yards, and I passed. Honestly, it was the perfect warm-up because I hadn’t really planned on doing that either. The entry form said the Swim Across Lake Monticello was 433 yards. I was pleased because while I could finish a mile or two in open water, it wouldn’t be pretty, and I would probably hurt the next day. Open water swimming works your neck and shoulders more because you have to lift your head up often to breathe. I am sore even when I’ve been swimming consistently.

Then I got my number marked “151,” hopped in the water, and the race director read off every single number before telling us to go.

Swim Across Lake Monticello

Swim Across Lake Monticello Race:

Open water swims are similar to road races. Buoys mark a starting line, and you can start where it makes sense—faster people in the front, slower people in the back, etc.

I lined up behind one of the swim teams and immediately regretted it because once they said go, I was getting kicked in the face. I swam around the kids, and after about 100 yards, I found myself alone. The water was reasonably warm, but I didn’t mind; I kept swimming, and I could telI was passing people towards the front. I knew I definitely wasn’t first, but I could tell I was somewhere in the top half of people. To be honest, I never really want to be first in an open water swim because you don’t exactly know if you’re going in the right direction.

The Swim Across Lake Monticello was a fairly easy race to sight because we were swimming straight from one beach to another. I kept myself pointed at the main beach, looking up about every ten strokes to ensure I wasn’t going too far out in the middle.

Finally, I could see the beach and small little dots (IE people). I hoped I was going to the correct part of the beach. I saw other people heading that way, so I knew we must be pretty good.

As we got closer to the shore, it got slightly choppy but not unmanageable. The Swim Across Lake Monticello was fairly smooth and a lot smoother than open water. Finally, I reached a part where I could stand and run into the beach. I misjudged it at first, and when I stood up, I still couldn’t reach the bottom. I swam another 10 yards and hit the bottom. I ran into the beach and finished in 6:44, which averaged 1:30 per 100.  I swam 449 yards, close to the race distance.

Swim Across Lake Monticello

Swim Across Lake Monticello Thoughts:

I’m happy with my swim. I was the fifth woman overall and second in my age group. I haven’t been swimming much the last few weeks just because I’ve been busy, but I’m happy when I can get some swimming and a fun race. The Swim Across Lake Monticello was fun because I had no idea what I was getting into beforehand. I thought it might be a more low-key swim.

Swim Across Lake Monticello

You can see Strava here, and all race recaps here.

Questions for you:

Have you swum in open water?

Have you done the Swim Across Lake Monticello? 

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