Friday, August 2, 2013

The Bay 2013

Well it's over and though it looked challenging (which is, I guess, why they call it the Bay Challenge) Jen pulled it off with style.  Matt piloted her boat and I got to count strokes and mark down her splits.  Jen swum the Bay in 2:53 and won the race!  First woman across the Bay.

Denis also completed the swim and in a terrific time of 3:04.  It was an impressive show from two very impressive swimmers.

The start was a bit hairy, with large swells battering the beach and wind whipping around us.  One support boat was beached, another was swamped and then overturned.  The organizers decided last minute to ask the boats to stay off shore and have the swimmers swim to the beach for the start.  There was a lot of calling to and fro on the walkies, looking for swimmers that hadn't checked in yet, checking that all the boats were OK and understood the change in plans. Jen weathered everything like a champ, but I know from experience how much a change in plans can throw your mental game.  I felt for her.  But I also knew that once she got in and started swimming, everything would slip away and she would remember that this was just swimming - and if there's one thing Jen knows inside out, it's swimming.

It took a while for all the boats to find their swimmers and we were kept from Jen by another swimmer that was just behind her and that swimmer's support boat.  When Jen pulled far enough away from the swimmer, we slipped in next to her and I could see her look and then recognize us as her boat.  She was moving fast and pulling hard and I started counting her strokes.  After almost 2km I could see her relax and drop into the swim.  That strong, smooth stroke I admire so much surfaced and I thought to myself "OK, here we go".
In the shipping lane she hit the current and it was tough going - it looked like a slog and I felt for her - but she kept swimming, only switching to backstroke a couple of times but not stopping. 

We counted down from 2km, and left her about 1km from shore.  As she swam toward shore I stood up to watch her stand up and walk out of the ocean.  Colene called and said that Denis was coming up behind us so we turned and pulled up on the other side of him to cheer him in.  After a long tough swim, Denis still had it in him to wave to us when he heard us cheering.

Matt dropped me off  before he went to return the boat and as I walking toward the finish he texted me: "Jen won!".  I could hardly believe it.

When I saw Jen I ran to her and hugged her so hard and she whispered it to me: "I won"!  I was overjoyed - what a gorgeous thing to hear! 

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