Let me start off by saying the Montauk Open Water Swim was the most fun I have had during a race. The combination of the nervousness, and the tension that built up before the race made it so exciting to be a part of. My day started off watching the sunrise over the ocean from my hotel balcony in Montauk. I stood there with my brother, talking about family, life lessons, and various race experiences over a cup of coffee and a banana. It was a great moment, I am lucky to have moments like this in my life. After we finished our coffee, we both packed our wetsuits in the car and left for the race. Upon arrival, we see a group of around 50 people all in wetsuits. The environment was such a pleasure, it seemed as though everyone had a smile on their faces, just happy to be there like I was.
After we got our swim caps and the race briefing, we then got our suits on and started walking towards the water. At this point the sun was fully up and beaming down on us. To me, the sun beaming down on us really was a real reality check. I knew this race was going happen very soon. I then looked down at my watch (6:45) “Here we go!”
About two hundred people gathered and jumped right into the water. Before the race started, we had to swim out to the first buoy which was a good 150 yards out. Treading water at the buoy, I gave my brother a high five, we wished each other good luck and we were on our own from there.
In the beginning I felt great, I was actually very comfortable. I made sure to stay calm and remembered to swim at a comfortable pace, and to breathe nice and easy. I wanted to conserve energy so my start was considerably slow compared to other swims I have done. By the 20 minute mark, I figured that I would start picking up the pace because I was still feeling relaxed. I may have gotten a little overconfident because as soon as I picked up the pace I lost track of my direction. A lifeguard came up to me and told me I was too shallow. This really threw me off, because I had to swim back out essentially in the wrong direction from the finish line. When I got back on track I became very conscious of the direction I was heading. It is very difficult because the “sweep” was either pulling me too far out or too far in. At the 1 mile mark I really got the hang of it and was able to manage my direction well.
Still, I was feeling great! I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to swim in the ocean. When I was finally able to get over the nervousness and manipulate the oceans sweep, I started to really enjoy the ocean. It was honestly one of the most relaxing times of my life. It sounds corny but it was an empowering feeling being essentially alone in the ocean with your thoughts.
When I hit the last buoy, I was rounding third base and had an easy swim back to the beach. I simply took the waves in and swam as hard as I could. It probably took me 7 minutes to swim out 150 yards and to swim in I would say 2 minutes. When I got onto the beach, there my brother was obviously since he beats me every race. One of these days I will beat him. He finished in 1:08 and I finished exactly 1:16. When I finished, it was one of the greatest feelings I have ever had. I was not only relieved to get a 2 mile ocean swim under my belt but I truly felt a moment of euphoria. If I could, I would do an ocean swim every weekend. It is the best way to start your day!