In 4 days, April 15, 2018. 17 km swim in a river, which doesn’t really look like a river. Looks more like a flooded river and apparently is the main reservoir that waters Sao Paulo. The closest town is called Nazare Paulista and the river/reservoir is called the Atibainha.
I found out yesterday that the race will allow use of wetsuits. That is not good news for me as I will not wear one. My old one is well, old, and my new one will scar me and give me a rash from the rubber seams.
I’ve done 5 swim of comparable distance. Two 12 Mile Key West races, Tahiti to Moorea (18 km), Straits of Gibraltar (17 km) and Sardinia to Corsica (15 km). I can usually swim at a pace of 3500-3750 meters per hour for long distance swims so that gives me a projected time for this race of 4.5 to 5 hours. All of my swims however were done in salt water. My longest lake swim was Lausanne to Evian across Lake Leman which is 11 kms. I remember that as a hard swim. The lessened buoyancy really takes its toll. Also for me at least fresh water seems more corrosive to my sinuses. After a long lake swim I feel like I’ve injected acid up my nose. Never feel that in the ocean.
Yesterday I swam 6.5 kms current neutral (up and down the same beach) in 1:50. A little over 3500 MPH. I invited my new friend Grasiela who swam the 4 km Bahia Norte last weekend, on April 7. She is a strong swimmer and placed top 10 overall in the race. But she hasn’t swum much on her own on the ocean. We left together yesterday morning and made a plan to meet two hours later back at the life guard post near my house. So we were both on our own. I love swimming on my own. Not only do you go exactly at the pace you want to go but you feel much more a part of the ocean. When you swim offshore, even as little as 50 meters, or 200 which is the normal distance I swim off shore when I swim parallel remember that only your forehead and eyes are above the water level…just a few inches. So the world you see is water and sky. The world you hear is the rustling, slapping. jostling of water rushing by your ears, capped or uncapped, and the world you feel is temperature, swell, and the thick supportive buoyancy of the water. It is at once expansive and tiny. I love to swim with a friend who pushes me, or sometimes I can push him. That experience is a shared one and depending on relative strength can lead to a faster swim. I do not have my friend Serbo here in Brazil so I usually swim alone.
Grasiela swam very well and she wants to go again..alone! I encourage all swimmers to swim out to sea…straight out 500 meters,1 km, more! There is nothing out there to bother you. I always feel slightly nervous when I swim straight out. But that nervousness that you want to feel, that keeps you going back for more.
Back to my river/lake swim in 4 days. Last night I spoke with my kayaker Diego. The race organization paired me up with him. He is an experienced kayaker and has races Tahitian outrigger canoes. I told him that his primary job is navigate from start to turn around point and back to the finish using the shortest possible line. His secondary job is to be aware as best he can about other swimmers and to relay information to me about gaing/passing on swimmers as after all this is a race. I told him that I would always swim along side so if he needs me to veer one way or the other I will simply follow his lead. Feeding should be simple. Alert me every 30 minutes and throw me out a bottle of my powerade and water or a gel pack or a banana if I asked for one.
There are some 50 plus swimmers registered. Several are Brazilian record holders and top competitors. I look forward to the race!