AAA was a sponsor of the 2016 Jim McDonnell Lake Swim in Reston’s Lake Audubon. On May 29, AAA board member Bob Ludke had the opportunity to participate in the two mile swim, and here are his thoughts on the event.
2016 was the second year in which I participated in the two mile Jim McDonnell Lake Swim. The event also features a one mile swim, and participants have the opportunity to swim in both distances. The Jim McDonnell Lake Swim is considered one of the premier open water swims in the Mid Atlantic region and attracts swimmers of all skill levels from the area. The organizers do a great job putting together the event, the water tends to be warm and the competition is always friendly.
Compared to lap swimming in a pool, open water swimming is a refreshing change. Best of all, there is no need to worry about flip turns when cruising along in a beautiful lake! However, open water swimming does present its own challenges. Open water swimmers need to feel comfortable altering their stroke to look up and sight the buoys, and because there are no lane lines there can be jostling between swimmers – especially when rounding the buoys. Those skills can easily be learned in a swimming pool. One or two tips from a coach or experienced open water swimmer is all that is needed.
If you have never done an open water swim event consider starting with a shorter distance – something like 750 meters or one mile (roughly 1250 meters). Also, many local swim teams have groups that practice in area lakes and rivers, and those are great opportunities to get some coaching while gaining experience.
Regardless of distance, the most important rule of open water swimming is to be safe. Even experienced open water swimmers should never swim alone and all swimmers must take steps to ensure they are visible to watercraft. Once you have the necessary safety precautions in place, get in and enjoy the beauty of swimming in open water.
Photo credit: restonmasters.com