This Sunday I participated in my first ever official swim race, the IJ Swim in Amsterdam. It is a 2,8 kilometers open water swim race through the canals of IJburg. So far my longest swim. There were about 55 participants. Rumours got out I did well in the Axtri triathlon so the organization tipped me amongst 2 other water polo players as the dangerous outsider for the win :) It was a really well organized event with a big crowd watching everywhere next to the course, live music along the swim, a DJ at the finish and a post swim BBQ.
At the start I positioned myself right behind the 2 water polo players. I was surprised to see that one guy was not wearing a wet suit. Obviously during the race this proved to be a big disadvantage. Although he came in second last year, this year he would finish in 6th place. Amazing performance in a field with only wet suits. For those new to swimming, the wet suit helps you float on top of the water. You need less body core strength, the suit keeps you basically in a least resistant position. Obviously you swim faster in a wet suit.
3, 2, 1, BAAANG!! Of we went. Like last week I took off quickly swimming the first 200 meters in the lead. This time I was more exited than last time so I had more difficulties controlling my breath during the first kilometer. After the first 200 meters I saw 3 people slowly overtake me. Since it was a long race I tried to stay in my own rhythm. Which I found very difficult, since I wanted to finish in top 3!
Half way there was another guy at my back, again slowly getting closer and closer. As he passed me 500 meters before the finish I tried to stay next to him. Swimming closely behind or next, slightly behind a competitor is a well known open water swim technique called 'drafting'. Studies show that while you draft you save 25% of your energy. It is basically the equivalent of driving in someones slip stream. It is a great technique and tactic but only if you are able to keep up with your rival. Unfortunately I could not. I gave all my last energy and finished in 4th place in a total time of 44 minutes 44 seconds. Number one at that time finished already his first burger, it took him 39 minutes 26 seconds to swim 2,8 kilometers, fantastic!
September 7th I will swim the Amsterdam City Swim. A very special sports event where all participants collect funding for the ALS Foundation. The 2 KM swim takes place in the historic canals of Amsterdam. This year they have already raised over €1,1 million!! Feel free to sponsor me via this link.