A new and exciting portion of the SwamThat Race was a lasagna dinner and salad feed on Saturday night: which included course description, and some fun facts about the lake. This was catered by Hy-Vee the evening prior the race. Thank you, Hy-Vee, for your continued support. The biggest hiccup of the entire weekend was the misplacement of silverware. We did eventually get silverware to the event, however in the meantime a couple of dedicated gentlemen proved that you can eat lasagna with a red solo cup. I’m sure solo never intended this, but these individuals known for their dedication, and genius cut a new mold. This brings me to a special thank you to Jack and Boyd for their continued support and humor. We performed packet pickup, and numbered arms the night prior, this provided ease to the entire event.
The next morning: My day started as I was screaming across the lake in out 18 foot Sea Ray full of deflated buoys, rain pelting me in the head, and lightning in the distance. Obviously dedicated to the task, I’m off to pick up my best friend Ryan, (Lead kayaker, my personal ultra-distance handler, could not do this without him) so that we can drop buoys in the dark. This is never an easy task, but this year I’ve purchased LED lit dog collars and affixed them to the tops of each buoy, all in hopes to be able to see each well enough that when the sun rises, the course does not resemble a Picasso. Wind, currents, and boat position are constantly changing variables even while anchored, so drawing a straight line with moving objects in the dark, at about 250 meters between each, is an impossible task. I’ll let you know if I ever get it figured out, and in the meantime appreciate your continued patience.
Once we escaped the lightning, and found ourselves laughing about the ongoing of dropping buoys. Ryan and I knew it would be another great day. At one point Ryan performed a countdown that resembled tossing an anchor, but with no line attached I panicked, this began the hilarity of the day. Humor eased the requirements of the morning, and everything fell into place. Participants felt ready to take on the course, and our volunteers ready to assist. Our volunteer numbers were up this year, and greatly appreciated as the day would progress without incident. This is in part through another sponsor relationship. Camp Foster YMCA allowed us to borrow kayaks, this allowed us to have more volunteers on the water, and provided better support. Thank you to all of our great volunteers, and the YMCA for being a valued supporter.
Race day got underway without incident, and fun was had by all. Water visibility was greater than 20 feet this year, I remember little Hank in the children’s race, stopping in the middle of his 150M swim to yell at his mom, “I saw a fish!”, a true highlight for me. New course records were sent in both the Children’s 150, and 300. Evelyn Lorenz in the 150M at 4:11, and Julian Kopelman at 6:57 in the 300M. We’ve been honored with multiple Catalina Channel Swimmers. Tom Casavant was our first swimming the SwamThat Race in 2016, and in 2017 we were honored by Liz Urbe. We’ve also had End Wet swimmers in the field in the past: Molly Nance, and Sharessa Gutierrez. It’s a true honor to host a race that is swum by some of the best distance swimmers in the world. I also had a couple of my personal swim students in the races this year. Both of them (Tracy Conner, and Eric Moser) came in with strong swims, winning their age divisions, and in the case of Eric Moser our 10K overall. Unfortunately we had one individual pull out due to cramping, but the Dive and Rescue boat provided by the Okoboji Fire department was swift in their response, and the team managed the situation with ease. With the participant safe and in good spirits the day was a success. Following is a list of full results.
Now for my favorite award:
Kathleen Christensen is our 2017 Honu’s Hero recipient for many reasons. Most importantly she crossed off her dream of becoming an open water Marathon swimmer. We are honored that she chose the SwamThat Race. She put in an amazing effort, and I’m personally very proud of her.
Honu’s Hero is a
Past winners include:
2014 - Kathleen Guyer
2015 - James Rechs
2016 - Paul Witmer, Fay Kilburg, and Stanley Lemaster
Investments in the 2017 race include another 10 radios, MORE SWAG, and a deepening of the local relationships to build a mutually supportive, and ongoing relationship. After all, SwamThat is a family affair, with family values.
I would like to thank the Okoboji Fire Department, and of course the Iowa Great lakes DNR, we literally could not do this without your support, so cheers for allowing us to make an impact on the Midwest open water swim community. Another shout out to the Okoboji Chamber of commerce for their support, they are all around gold in the SwamThat book.
Looking forward to this year, it’s our fifth annual, so sign up today, and enjoy the swim. P.S. prices stayed the same at 2017.
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