Archive for Swimming

2014 OWS Race Season Recap

The 2014 OWS race season was a big one for me; I had set the goal of swimming the Semana Nautica 10K in July and knew that I needed a lot of miles in the bank! I swam most of the races that I could conveniently get to; here’s a roundup:

Nadadores 2.4 Mile Rough Water Swim – May 17th

Boy, do the fasties show up for races in Orange County, my 1:01 got me last place in AG!

Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point is a stunning setting for a race. The water was 62 degrees, and the visibility was great. Very well-organized race, with a lot of fast swimmers (winning time was 44 minutes). I highly recommend this early-season race.

Event website:


Salt Creek Beach

Santa Monica Pier Paddle – June 7th

A great local race, almost every swimmer friend I know does this. We got lucky with conditions this year. Last year, 12 foot surf wreaked havoc on the womens’ wave. No such drama this year.

It’s only a mile. I find that if I try to “sprint” a race like this, I end up swimming slower. Came in at 31:03, but I attribute that time to that silly 200 yard run up the soft sand to finish.

Event website:




Photo Credit: Jessica Spuehler

Seal Beach Rough Water Swim – June 14th

The first 5K of the season! A single loop around a martini glass shaped course in Seal Beach Harbor.

The organizers highly recommend a kayaker escort, and my friend Alicia graciously offered to kayak. Sighting is awful in this race … I can see why they recommend a kayaker. Alicia and I didn’t find each other until about halfway through the race, I guess we should have discussed our plan before the race started!

Did a 1:27, which I was really happy with. Felt great afterwards, so I just jumped in and did the 1 mile race that followed. Definitely doing this next year, but I think I’ll wing it without a kayaker.

Event website:


Seal Beach

Semana Nautica 5K – July 6th

The final tuneup before the 10K the following week. I love this race, and I love the cold water up in Santa Barbara. The sun was shining very bright that morning, so the race organizers were nice enough to switch the direction of the course so that we wouldn’t get blinded.

Told myself to take it easy because I was swimming the 10K a week later, but I felt great and ended up swimming my fastest 5K in 1:22!

Event website:


5K-1 5K-2

Semana Nautica 10K – July 13th

The big one! Everything had been leading up to this. We were piling on some nutty mileage at our Tower 26 Wednesday beach workouts, so I knew that I had the miles in the bank. Yes, coach Gerry, I love triple circuits! June was a > 30 mile swimming month, and July was on track to hit 35 miles. I was ready.

My good friend Chris Georges offered to kayak for me. Tom joined us for the road trip and helped get the car from the start to the finish – logistics are important.

I opened with what I later saw was my fastest open water mile, even though I felt like I was taking it easy. Chris and I had agreed on doing the first feeding an hour in. I had my Garmin set to auto-lap every mile, so I knew when I was approaching an hour.

The conditions were amazing, we got lucky. 68’ish degree water, and a gentle swell. Amazing visibility. Got to see a lot of fish and beautiful kelp forests. Chris kayaked slightly ahead of me to carve out a path through the kelp.

Felt great throughout, skipped the last feeding and finished up in 2:37.

The course was .4 miles short of 6 miles, so I did what any self-respecting swimmer would do and went out and swam another half mile. There was no way in hell I was gonna let that day pass and not actually swim 10K.

Little known fact: I missed the World Cup Final for this race.

Event website:




Dwight Crum Pier to Pier – August 3rd

Pier to Pier is a fixture on the Los Angeles swimming calendar and one of the top 10 open water races in the US. This is another race that everyone does, it was great to hang out with friends and later talk about all the great white sharks hanging out along the swim course.

The race is 2 miles from the Hermosa Pier to the Manhattan Beach Pier. The winner this year swam it in 37 minutes – I just can’t fathom how that’s possible.

What I love most about this race is the chaos of the mass start. We practice mass starts every Wednesday, I love them. Nothing like trying to round that first buoy with 500 of your best friends.

Sighting this race is trickier than it should be, so I swim the course a few times beforehand to practice it. Finished in 57 minutes, and didn’t get tumbled by the surf at the end … it’s the little things.

Event website:



Ocean Park Bandit 5K’ish Swim

Without a doubt, the crown jewel of the Los Angeles open water race calendar!

We’d always joked about organizing a race, and this was it! Joined about 30 people to swim a course from Tower 26, south to Venice and around Tom “The Human Buoy” Hiel, North to Casa del Mar, and back.

OP-1 OP-2 OP-3 OP-4

So much fun, thinking seriously about turning this into a summer race series next year!

Next Year

I already signed up to do the Bridge to Bridge 10K in San Francisco, and will definitely do the La Jolla Rough Water Swim now that it’s back on. A Catalina relay is also in the works! And, of course, the Ocean Park Bandit Swim!

Summer 2012

It’s been a fantastic summer in LA! In Chicago today is the last day where the beaches and public pools are officially open, but there’s no sign of summer ending in LA anytime soon!

Got a great ocean swim in today at Tower 26 in Santa Monica. June gloom is long gone and the weather was amazing. Towards the mid-point of our swim, we spotted a small pod of dolphins. They got closer to us and were playing around not even 10 feet from us; you could even hear them chattering underwater!

Tower 26 - Santa Monica beach

Tower 26 in Santa Monica


Earlier this summer, Kevin Marshall (colleague at Clarity) and I also swam the Alcatraz Sharkfest swim.

What an epic swim!!

800 swimmers pile into two ferries and sail to Alcatraz. Everybody dives into the water and swims towards a start line of kayakers. The ferry horn sounds and you swim like mad.

Super challenging swim because of the currents; you can’t just swim a straight line to the finish – you’ll get swept out and get brought back in on the back of a jetski.

Swam it in a respectable 34 minutes, but wussed out and wore my wetsuit. San Francisco is cold in June, and it psyched me out!

Alcatraz Sharkfest swim

Alcatraz Sharkfest swim

Ocean Swimming

One of the perks of living here is being able to train in the Pacific Ocean. It’s a little harder to get to living in the Valley, but it’s a great treat for the weekends.

This picture was taken last week in full June Gloom. Hope to catch some more sunny days this summer.

Action Shots from St. Charles Superbowl Masters Swim Meet

I woke up at 5am on Superbowl Sunday to drive out to St. Charles, IL for a swim meet. This was the first meet in which I was swimming the 500 Free so I needed to get there early in order to warm up.

Since St. Charles is practically in Iowa, we decided to only swim a certain number of events in order to make it back to Chicago at a reasonable hour. I ended up swimming the 500 Free, 100 Free, 100 IM, and a team relay.

Really enjoyed the 500 Free, and improved my 100 IM time, but slowed down in the 100 Free for the second consecutive meet. Maybe the swimming gods are telling me that I’m not a sprinter.

Swimming – World’s Smoothest Freestyle?

This is pretty amazing to watch …