Monday, June 27, 2011

Postcards from the 'Alcatraz Sharkfest' swim!

Postcards from the Alcatraz Sharkfest swim. The photos above were taken by Scott Belland. Scott is the Mark Savage of outdoor water-sports photography. After posting a photo to this blog Sports Illustrated picked it up for their Beijing Olympic preview magazine.

Since Scott's number one concern were the swimmers as a Kayak support person, he grabbed one of his lesser Nikons and shot some photos as a giant favor to this blog.

The blueseventy reaction wetsuit was my weapon of choice. Both its comfort, shoulder flexibility, and warmth made the last 500-meters of the race as easy as the first 500-meters. I wasn't fighting the wetsuit at all as I use to with my Quintana Roo and it was warm. Taking off the wetsuits was surprisingly lite and this will be the wetsuit brand I use moving forward from now on.

I am so glad I purchased the b70 Reaction instead of the TYR. I did see a TYR Hurricane out there and the suit has stomach panels in it that completely draws your attention to one's core area of the suit like a bulls eye. Aesthetically I would not want that.

Again, the blueseventy Reaction exceeded expectations. I placed 102th overall in the men's wetsuit division, about 123rd overall out of the 700-plus wetsuit participants, 12th in my age group out of probably 45, and I am very pleased.

The water temp was about 58-degrees the conditions were moderated choppy, lots of wind and some fog but the water was a "roasty-toasty" 58-degrees which is a "tropical temp" for that bay

The first photo is me greeting a Kayak support staff person I have know for decades. I hate posting photos of myself but this photo gives an expansive view of Aquatic park, the bay the Sharkfest swimmers end their swim.

The next photo: The person with no wetsuit is my open water partner, Anthony, who placed 4th in his age group for those crazy enough not wearing a wetsuit. That is me with the white cap suggesting as I swim by that we swim to the edge of the corner of Alcatraz for a better starting position. I wore a silicon cap rather than the standard issue latex cap they give you. I hate latex and doing so was sort of a metaphor for this blog. I insist on swimming the way I want to swim.

I included some starting shots and some middle of the bay shot to give the gravity of what it is like being tossed around in the currents while trying to spot a target 1.2-miles away in the light fog.

The final photo is the last of the swimmers heading to the finish. The Kayak support staff has safely escorted everyone to shore and the area with the "green circle" is both Anthony and I cheering the final swimmers in.

Final note: My first year of doing the race, some 7-years ago, I was one of those last swimmers crawling unto the beach, and that gave me the motivation to seriously learn how to swim. Hence, I joined SCAQ Masters Swimming and now I place in the top 20% or so but I always make sure to cheer those last people in. It took me one-hour-and-12-minutes to finish that race 7-years ago but in both choppy and challenging conditions on Jun 12th. 2011, I took 38-minutes,12.3-seconds to accomplish the crossing. Masters swimming is the way to go if you want to be an accomplished swimmer.

Results page for Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim: [Link]

For information on the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim: [Link]

Ibfo page for the blueseventy Reaction; [Link]


Jake said...

Wow... I cannot believe that this is a swim that people do! I want to come an watch it next time! Is it an annual event?

korakot said...

Thanks for the great article.

Trev said...

Congrats Tony! Sounds like it was a great swim. Fantastic photos too.

One of these years I'll join you :-)

Tony Austin said...

You would so beast it!