No other discipline receives less credit, gets less airtime, less articles, or less video than the open water swim.
Now, there is a reason for this. The open water swim is always, and I mean always the shortest portion of any triathlon. Some would say that the swim portion is not long enough for most races. Think about it; even for a sprint triathlon of .25 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 3 mile run the swim is 1.8% of the total distance of the race…YES 1.8 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL DISTANCE. Isn’t this a triathlon? Isn’t it supposed to be 1/3 of the total distance? The answer is simple: NO. It’s not. But there is a reason for this factoid. The reason is just as simple and here it is: Swimming is hard, but Open Water Swimming is just that much harder than the other sports combined. Yes, I said that. Open Water Swimming is REALLY, REALLY, HARD. If you didn’t grow up a swimmer it is BY FAR the most intimidating discipline to learn. Why? I’ll tell you why, because when you’re riding a bike and get tired…you can coast. When you’re running and get tired…you can walk. But when you’re open water swimming and get tired…you can drown. This is a fact, and it is undisputed. This is why in the year of our lord 2015 we are proclaiming it the “Year of Open Water Swimming.”
What makes 2015 the Year of Open Water Swimming? Nothing really. Or maybe, everything…really. For the past few years I’ve been mulling over how to better incorporate open water swimming into everything we do here at
DelMoSports. We have killer bike and run courses at our events, but there is only so much you can do with an open water swim. When it comes to a swim course you’re very limited by the body of water available. The only thing we can control is “HOW” you enter the water.
Enter Escape the Cape Triathlon stage left.
The Escape the Cape Triathlon in Cape May, New Jersey was the first triathlon in recent memory that placed a singular focus on The Open Water Swim. At Escape the Cape, it’s all about the swim, or rather, the 12 foot jump to get to the swim. For the first time The Open Water Swimmer was the star…and it felt great.
That was two years ago. Now, Escape the Cape has sold out in 36 hours (join the waitlist here) and the race was voted the best triathlon in the Mid-Atlantic AND North East Regions by Competitor.com in 2014. Why? Surely it had to be it’s unique open water swim. I mean, I didn’t receive too many pieces of fan mail for making athletes run 1.5 miles through soft sand…in fact, I’ve been sent a few “choice” emails and FB posts suggesting otherwise!
So how do we follow up on this? How do we get athletes excited about the open water swimming? More importantly, why do we want to get excited about the open water swimming? Again, another easy answer: “because we ain’t got mountains to climb.” What we lack in mountainous landscape we make up for in our ease of access to the water. California may have more coastline than New Jersey, but New Jersey has Taylor Pork Roll AND more accessible coastline due to no mountains or cliffs limiting people’s entry into the water. In short, NJ is better than CA.
In 2015, while others are going to be placing a huge focus on Biking and Running, DelMoSports is going to be all about The Open Water Swim or Swimmer for two reasons:
#1: The South Jersey Triathlon Club Open Water Series.
This is a training race that will take place every Wednesday night from July 4th Weekend to Labor Day Weekend @6:30pm in Amazing Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest, NJ. Why is this cool?
- It’s a half a mile from my house
- Sunset Lake is actually the bay, but its unique position makes it appear like a lake. The water is calm and tidal meaning it’s not stagnate like a lake and therefore very, very clean
- We’re going to be timing you so YOU can track your progress
#2: Escape From Lewes Open Water Classic 5k & 1 Mile Swims
Oh yeah, this is going to be unreal. Runners have Rock n Roll, Marine Corp, NYC, and Boston to run. Triathletes have Ironman, Challenge Family, and the LifeTime Series to race. But, the open water swimmer, the red-headed step child of the endurance sports community, doesn’t have anything of that magnitude to call their own…at least not in the
Delaware Valley Zone. Here are three great reasons why the Escape From Lewes Open Water Classic will be an amazing race:
- It’s 16 miles from my house, and I live in New Jersey. Yes, that’s correct. Our brothers and sisters in Delaware are very close, a mere ferry boat ride away, we’re knocking on the door like Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation.
- Breakwater Harbor at the CMLF Terminal is a venue that goes unrivaled for the sport of open water swimming. If you haven’t Google Earthed this thing…you should. The unique geography of Breakwater Harbor, and how it sits protected by Cape Henlopen makes this location ideal for an open water swim.
- The race starts at 1:45pm. OH YEAH! If you live across the bay, you can park your car at the Cape May Terminal, ride the ferry as a foot passenger, and join the party in Lewes. It really is a one of a kind experience, not just for open water swimmers, but for any endurance sports athlete.
I could continue to go on and on about why 2015 is going to be the year of the open water swimmer but as you can already tell we’re off to a great start.