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.
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 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 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.
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?