This morning, my mom, my cousin, and I headed down to Seal Beach for the Seal Beach Rough Water Swim. The last time I competed in this race was in 2015, before I was seriously training in open water or completing open water marathons. I was really excited to see how I would perform in the race this year compared to the 2015 race.
The beach was foggy and windy, so I made the decision to not get in the water before the start because I didn’t want to freeze on the beach. The race director gave us a pre-race talk and described the course
and then sent the kayakers into the water to wait for us. I watched my kayaker Maddy battle the 6-7 foot surf and thought about how brave she was to be kayaking through the waves. Soon, they started the race and I entered the water, carefully picking my way over the sticks in the shallow water. The frothy water was filled with seaweed and my suit also filled with the slimy green kelp. I sprinted to the first triangle buoy, lifting my head to find Maddy among the kayakers.
I found her quickly and we turned north to the next triangle buoy. The water felt warm and my stroke started to smooth out as we rounded the buoy and headed back toward the other jetty. The race seemed to be going by much faster than in my memory, probably because I have spent so much time training in open water. We turned at the third buoy and aimed back for the pier. I saw another swimmer behind me, so I picked up my pace and
continued to head for the pier. As I rounded the pier, Maddy signalled that she would continue away from me so that she could exit the water farther down the beach. I sprinted along the pier and drifted pretty far north, even though I was heading for the shoreline. I passed the surfline and swam through the super kelpy water again to the shore. I sprinted up the beach and through the finish chute, where they handed me a popsicle stick and told me that I had finished fourth overall and first for women.
My mom told me that I had about seven minutes until the start of the 1 mile race. I rinsed off quickly and did my best to get the kelp out of my suit, before heading to the start line. They blew the whistle and we ran out into the water aiming for the same triangle buoy. I tried to increase my tempo but seemed to be stuck in my rhythm from the 3 mile race. I swam around the course and into the finish, grateful that I was done for the day. I won my age group so that was exciting, considering how bad I felt during the 1 mile race. A huge thanks to my mom and Maddy for supporting me today!