IMFL Swim Thoughts
I wanted to share some thoughts about the new swim start at IMFL. This was the first time Ironman used this type of start. It was a cannon start at 7:00, so everyone started at the same time. The idea was that we would line-up down the beach according to expected finish time. If I had more time and talent, I would illustrate it for you. The faster swimmers lined up in a straight line with the turn buoy and slower swimmers lined up to the right. The idea being that the faster swimmers would get out front and the slower ones would fall in line behind.
I honestly can’t come up with a better alternative, but I think it had some unintended consequences. I think racers thought that this strategy would minimize contact, so when the cannon went off everyone rushed into the water. Last year, the ocean was rougher and many people, including me, waited a minute or two to start. This year, people were much more aggressive. Anticipating that I would swim faster this year, I also entered the water further up in the pack. I’m sure I’m somewhere in the crowd in the oval above where the contact was relentless throughout the entire swim.
I met a woman who has done 12 Ironman races, including Florida 7 times. Every race before this one, she swam 1:11 no matter what the conditions. For this race, she swam 1:14 and said it was the most contact she had ever had and that the people were more aggressive than she had seen at any previous race. I think the reasonable ocean conditions and the promise of less contact from the self-seeded start played into this.
It will be interesting to see what Ironman thinks and what they decide to do next year. It’s tough because I understand the thrill of having the midnight/17 hour finish. I wish I had a better idea. The mass start is so much a part of the race. My advice to new racers is that if you don’t want a lot of contact, forget your ego when it comes to your swim time and wait a few minutes to enter the water. It’s a long day and a few minutes is worth it if contact bothers you. If you want to crush the swim, make sure your goggles are on tight and that you are a good swimmer. I’m confident in the water and am happy that I fought it out for my 1:14.
If they go with the same start next year, I think I will move myself further to the left with the faster swimmers. I started with the 1:20 swimmers and ended up having to swim around too many people. I finished in 1:14 and that was with a lot of time spent maneuvering to avoid clumps of people. We’ll see. Depends on the ocean conditions, too.
Oh, and a shout out to everyone who very nicely wished me a “jellyfish-free” swim! I only saw two and they were far enough below me that I wasn’t scared. Whew!!

IMFL Swim Thoughts

I wanted to share some thoughts about the new swim start at IMFL. This was the first time Ironman used this type of start. It was a cannon start at 7:00, so everyone started at the same time. The idea was that we would line-up down the beach according to expected finish time. If I had more time and talent, I would illustrate it for you. The faster swimmers lined up in a straight line with the turn buoy and slower swimmers lined up to the right. The idea being that the faster swimmers would get out front and the slower ones would fall in line behind.

I honestly can’t come up with a better alternative, but I think it had some unintended consequences. I think racers thought that this strategy would minimize contact, so when the cannon went off everyone rushed into the water. Last year, the ocean was rougher and many people, including me, waited a minute or two to start. This year, people were much more aggressive. Anticipating that I would swim faster this year, I also entered the water further up in the pack. I’m sure I’m somewhere in the crowd in the oval above where the contact was relentless throughout the entire swim.

I met a woman who has done 12 Ironman races, including Florida 7 times. Every race before this one, she swam 1:11 no matter what the conditions. For this race, she swam 1:14 and said it was the most contact she had ever had and that the people were more aggressive than she had seen at any previous race. I think the reasonable ocean conditions and the promise of less contact from the self-seeded start played into this.

It will be interesting to see what Ironman thinks and what they decide to do next year. It’s tough because I understand the thrill of having the midnight/17 hour finish. I wish I had a better idea. The mass start is so much a part of the race. My advice to new racers is that if you don’t want a lot of contact, forget your ego when it comes to your swim time and wait a few minutes to enter the water. It’s a long day and a few minutes is worth it if contact bothers you. If you want to crush the swim, make sure your goggles are on tight and that you are a good swimmer. I’m confident in the water and am happy that I fought it out for my 1:14.

If they go with the same start next year, I think I will move myself further to the left with the faster swimmers. I started with the 1:20 swimmers and ended up having to swim around too many people. I finished in 1:14 and that was with a lot of time spent maneuvering to avoid clumps of people. We’ll see. Depends on the ocean conditions, too.

Oh, and a shout out to everyone who very nicely wished me a “jellyfish-free” swim! I only saw two and they were far enough below me that I wasn’t scared. Whew!!