The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim

nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
edited June 2012 in General Discussion
The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim will be held next Sunday June 10th. This is a 4.4 mile swim between the spans of the Bay Bridge between Annapolis and Stevensville Maryland. I did not get a spot for the long swim in the lottery process, so I will be swimming the One Miler this year. I just wanted to know if any of the other forum members will be participating!

Comments

  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
    Not this year. I did the 4.4 last year. I got heat exhaustion from the 85-degree water and ended up getting pulled at mile 3. I hope for everyone's sake that it's a lot cooler this year!
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    @rosemarymint - I heard that was the case - there was a midday start due to the timing of the tide, and thunderstorms caused some swimmers to be pulled. Water temp in the bay as of today is 74 but that can change quickly -
  • FrancoFranco Chestertown, MDCharter Member
    Current Temp at Thomas Point is 72.1
    http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=tplm2

    It was warm last year but buoy reading just prior to race was 77.8.

    I'll be at 4.4. One of my favorite events.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    Thanks Franco! I am looking forward to my first swim in the Bay - although I grew up in Richmond and spent many weekends in Deltaville. I plan to do the 4.4 next year - by purchasing a charity spot - no more waiting on the lottery - that was disappointing! I hope that you will have a great swim!
  • It'll be my first Bay Swim too. Does anyone have a sunblock recommendation? I've used a variety of products during my OW swim practices, but nothing seems to work well. Thanks!
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    IronKidd wrote:
    It'll be my first Bay Swim too. Does anyone have a sunblock recommendation? I've used a variety of products during my OW swim practices, but nothing seems to work well. Thanks!

    @evmo had a good reccomendation on his packing list he posted on his blog, SolRx 44. I used it on a 10.5 hour swim, and hardly had any sunburn at all.

    dpm50
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    IronKidd, I have been using Coppertone Sport, as recommended on this forum, and I have not experienced sunburn yet, although I have been swimming very early in the morning for the most part. SolRx may not be readily available for this weekends swim, but can be ordered online. Good luck in the swim!
  • I'll be there for the 4.4! So excited! And I know I'm kind of a weirdo for this but I would be totally happy if the water was on the warmer side :)

    For those who have done the swim before, would someone mind describing to me how the start works? Does the entirety of each wave just go off in a big 300 person group or is there more to it?
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    @swimmergirl23 - Jim M. will be doing the 4.4! I did not make the lottery :(
    Here is a video of the swim from last year - this may help give you an idea of how it goes - I will do the one miler, and see you and Jim at the finish of your swim!!



    dpm50
  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
    The start is two waves based on your expected finish time. The faster wave starts about 15 minutes after the first wave, so be prepared for the faster swimmers to catch up to you. It's like an Ironman mass start, so if you're uncomfortable about contact, position yourself behind everyone. Many people spread out farther away from the jetty, though it didn't really work because they still get in the mix. Once you're inside the bridge people spread out, though listen to Chuck the RD the morning of and he will tell you which side of the bridge to hug. He's serious. Watch the current in the shipping channels because it will push you out. Be prepared to swim diagonally for about a mile.

    As for sunscreen, if you can't get SolRx, there is something in the US grocery stores I've been using - Banana Boat Natural Kids 50+. It's zinc and titanium and lasts pretty long. It's definitely enough for GCBS as long as you put on two coats, letting them dry in between.

    Also, note that the buoy temp is taken about 5 feet below the surface and while it showed last year's was between 77 and 79 degrees, the surface water was much warmer. The weather has been MUCH cooler this year, so I don't think it will be nearly as hot. The air temperature during actual race was in the low 90s. There is no separate wetsuit category and most people wear them if they are trying to win their age groups.

    The water boats in the middle of the course are very hard to reach and are not stocked with any form of electrolyte and the water on board is almost always very hot. They're hard to navigate to, so many people just stick gels in their caps. I shoved a bottle of water/juice in my suit. While the bay is technically brackish, it's pretty damn fresh in that area, so if you can eat a salty meal the night before, I'd recommend it.

    It's a fun event and I'd love to give it a try again, but I was focusing money and effort on a different swim.
  • Thanks so much you guys! Great advice.
  • ksmithksmith La Jolla, CAMember
    So I just signed up for the swim this year as I grew up in the DC area and wanted to go back and visit while also doing a fun little swim. Has anyone else gotten a spot in the lottery yet?
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    I got in, will be my 15th.
  • Very excited that I got in this year. First of many, I hope. I'm doing a 7.5 miler the weekend before so this should be interesting!

    Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.

  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember
    Unless I'm selected in the next lottery round, I won't be in this year. I really wanted to do this again since last year I wasn't happy with my swim last year.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    What's the entry fee nowadays? I did it only once and the fee was @ $50 in 1995. It seems like yesterday rubbing elbows with 800 of my closest friends. An interesting thought was that I felt alone for much of it. At one point I rolled on my back to adjust my goggles and there was a high school kid drafting off of me getting a free ride. This was well into the swim, so he could have been there the whole time.
  • ksmithksmith La Jolla, CAMember
    $300 entry fee now, $1000 for a guaranteed spot if you don't get in through the lottery.
  • OnceaRunnerOnceaRunner Member
    edited January 2015
    $1000!! That's CRAZY! I hope you get a gold chalice with that entry. And here I was complaining about the $300. Jeez.
    AnthonyMcCarleyevmo

    Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    I wonder if anyone has ever tried to "race bandit" the GCBS?

    When I lived in Ft Lauderdale, I once ended up in the middle of a 1mile race. I had been out on a training swim for a few hours already. I was on my way back and ended up in the middle of the field. I went for it and was first to the turn buoy back to the beach finish (it was a straightaway course with the turn about 50M off-shore.) I over-shot the finish and was greeted by an angry race director who demanded payment.
    ksmith
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    You MIGHT be able to pull it off, the starting area is pretty well setoff from the rest of the beach. It's possible you could swim over after the race start or swim around the fence when checking in. But not likely, you'd need the proper color cap too.

    The finish takes you into a little chute with nowhere else to really go, so difficult there as well.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    I'm not looking to do it again. Once was enough and I don't think I could duplicate my end result. IIRC, there was an announcement to would-be bandits on how they could be ticketed at the end.

    I kicked a big rock in the water as I stood up to run the chute. I wasn't made for land.
  • ksmithksmith La Jolla, CAMember
    This will be my first time doing it and seems to be one of the few open water swims in the DC area. The only other swim that I saw in that area was this one: http://swimforlife.swimdcac.org/swimforlife/2015_Event.html I might have to try and do that one another year to see if it is any good. But other than those I don't see many other opportunities to swim in the DC area.
  • http://swimforthepotomac.com/index.html
    www.potomacriverswim.com

    I haven't done these but these do come to mind as being in the DC area.
    ksmith
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    ksmith wrote: »
    This will be my first time doing it and seems to be one of the few open water swims in the DC area. The only other swim that I saw in that area was this one: http://swimforlife.swimdcac.org/swimforlife/2015_Event.html I might have to try and do that one another year to see if it is any good. But other than those I don't see many other opportunities to swim in the DC area.

    The Swim For Life in Chestertown, MD is FANTASTIC. They also have the best post-race feed.
    Two thumbs up for this one.

    -LBJ

    jroyer

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    ksmith wrote: »
    This will be my first time doing it and seems to be one of the few open water swims in the DC area. The only other swim that I saw in that area was this one: http://swimforlife.swimdcac.org/swimforlife/2015_Event.html .

    No no no, there are more. National Harbor has a 10K swim. WaveOne OW swimming orgnizes the swims. Because of stupid laws, the 10K course closes kinda early for a slow swimmer like myself, but for most 3:30-ish is plenty of time to finish a 6-lap 10K.

    They also organize HarborFest tri-swims, which has events in the typical triathlon distances. However, Denis (organizer) runs a 5K during that event for the few of us that want farther swims.

    Check out the DC-area calendar here on MSF.

    BTW, I'm out of country for a few years, so if anyone wants to take over updating that calendar, let me and @evmo know.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • AnthonyMcCarleyAnthonyMcCarley Berwyn, PACharter Member
    ksmith wrote: »
    This will be my first time doing it and seems to be one of the few open water swims in the DC area. The only other swim that I saw in that area was this one: http://swimforlife.swimdcac.org/swimforlife/2015_Event.html I might have to try and do that one another year to see if it is any good. But other than those I don't see many other opportunities to swim in the DC area.

    The Swim For Life in Chestertown, MD is FANTASTIC. They also have the best post-race feed.
    Two thumbs up for this one.

    -LBJ

    If anyone decides to do the Swim for Life and would be coming from outside of the area, please private message me. I have a little place in Betterton – about 20 minutes from the swim.
  • I'm in this year! I did a serious happy dance until I realized how much the entry fee went up since the last time I got picked in the lottery. I almost passed out, but I rallied, and managed to sign up. :)
    I'm excited...can't wait to see everyone out there in June!

    Grappledunk's Slightly Soggy Blog: http://grappledunk.wordpress.com/

  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member

    I made it into the lottery for 2016! I am looking forward to my second crossing of the Great Chesapeake Bay on June 12th.

    AnthonyMcCarleyLesliebluemermaid9
  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember

    I'm in this year. It will be my 2nd time. The first time I swam it I bonked big time. I'm hoping to apply what I learned the first time and improve this year.

  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member

    Good luck this year gtswim - I hope you will have a great swim!

  • I'm in again this year as well - I'm hoping the weather cooperates a little bit better this time.

    JSwimbluemermaid9

    Grappledunk's Slightly Soggy Blog: http://grappledunk.wordpress.com/

  • JSwimJSwim western Maryland, USMember

    I'm in too, first time! Hope to meet you guys.

    bluemermaid9grappledunk

    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. --Neale Donald Walsch

  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember

    Thanks. Good luck to you, too and grappledunk and JSwim.

    JSwimbluemermaid9grappledunk
  • FrancoFranco Chestertown, MDCharter Member

    I have to miss my first one in eight years for son's college graduation. Good luck to all.
    I am hoping to get out at Promontory Point that weekend though since I never did during his four years in Chicago.

    evmobluemermaid9
  • bluemermaid9bluemermaid9 Boca Raton, FL, United StatesMember

    I'm in, too. 2nd time around. Won't be making the mistake of wearing a wetsuit again!

    grappledunk
  • I'm in. My first one. Any quick tips will be welcome. This should be fun!

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    edited March 2016

    Franco said:
    I have to miss my first one in eight years for son's college graduation. Good luck to all.
    I am hoping to get out at Promontory Point that weekend though since I never did during his four years in Chicago.

    Give me a holler when you're out here!

    Franco
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    edited March 2016

    @JustSwim, I have done the One Miler once (did not get in the lottery for the 4.4 miler that year, 2012), and the 4.4 miler once in 2013 the summer of my English Channel attempt. I am from Virginina and used to spend time with my Dad sailing the Chesapeake Bay so this was a very sentimental swim for me. I found it amazing to cross the bridge by car and realize that I would be swimming that body of water, and during the swim itself was awed by looking up to the bridge and around the water. Not knowing your open water experience, I found that at mile 3 the cross current was very strong and I found myself swimming diagonally for what seemed a long time. ( I am a 30 minute/mile swimmer). Also, I had a severe allergic reaction to the water (violent sneezing for hours post swim - this happens in rivers and lakes for me typically ) so I may take a prophylactic antihistamine before this race. I am a not wetsuit swimmer and the day of our swim was very hot and the water very warm - mid 70's It is a very fun day! Hope you enjoy and have a great experience!

    bluemermaid9NoelFigart
  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember

    @nvr2late As I understand, the current getting out from under the bridge in in 2013 was quite a challenge.

    @JustSwim Here is what I learned from my first swim in 2014. It was a 10:45 start. I normally workout on Sundays at 10:30 and don't generally eat before the workout. I figured I'd be ok not eating something for breakfast because I had some fruit after checking in and waiting for the start. As I mentioned above, I bonked at about the 3.5 mile mark. I really think it was due to not eating.

    Follow the instructions on the tide. We were told it would be moving right to left by the time we would me making our way from under the bridge span. I didn't move towards the right soon enough and was too near the left span when it was time to move out of the spans. On top of being tired from bonking, I had to swim against the tide to get out from under the right span.

    I was in the middle of the pack on the start. I used entirely too much energy on the start fighting for position with the other 300 simmers. I'm planning on starting either way left or way right of the pack this year. Even though it may add distance to get between the bridge spans, the energy saved at the start may help me later in the swim. In a 5k I did this past summer I was on the fringe to start and didn't need to feel like I had to sprint or exert energy to get away from the pack at the start. I settled into my pace almost right away and I felt strong the whole swim.

    No wetsuit for me.

    JustSwim
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member

    @gtswim - thanks for your thoughts. I did hear several veteran Chesapeake Bay swimmers say that they had never had to fight such a strong current. I hope that I have experienced the worst but you just never know in this wonderful, unpredictable sport that we love! I hope you have a great experience this year!

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    nvr2late said:
    @gtswim - thanks for your thoughts. I did hear several veteran Chesapeake Bay swimmers say that they had never had to fight such a strong current. I hope that I have experienced the worst but you just never know in this wonderful, unpredictable sport that we love! I hope you have a great experience this year!

    I swam it only once in 1995. It was by far the strongest cross-current I've ever dealt with. Cow Key Channel (Key West) and Longport Jetty (Atlantic City 37K) have special places in my heart for being the toughest "in your face" currents I've had to race in.

    rosemarymint
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member

    nvr2late said:

    I did hear several veteran Chesapeake Bay swimmers say that they had never had to fight such a strong current.

    This will be my 16th in a row, I started doing them before I had grey hair. These days it seems like every year the currents get worse!

    For my money, I prefer years where we start on a flood tide. When we start on an ebb tide you have the issue of water hitting the islands that anchor the bridge and you can get caught in the water pushing back toward you to get around the bridge. Then later in the race when it switches back to flood, the ride is pushing back north when you are trying to head south, and by then you're tired.

    I am no seaman but if I am right, this year is halfway between the new moon and full moon and that should mean a weaker tide.

    bluemermaid9
  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member

    swimmer25k said:
    I swam it only once in 1995. It was by far the strongest cross-current I've ever dealt with. Cow Key Channel (Key West) and Longport Jetty (Atlantic City 37K) have special places in my heart for being the toughest "in your face" currents I've had to race in.

    I lived in AC for years and I never thought it was possible to swim against the current at the Longport Jetty, that you had to go with it otherwise you were swimming backwards. Super impressive!!

    swimmer25k
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    rosemarymint said:

    swimmer25k said:
    I swam it only once in 1995. It was by far the strongest cross-current I've ever dealt with. Cow Key Channel (Key West) and Longport Jetty (Atlantic City 37K) have special places in my heart for being the toughest "in your face" currents I've had to race in.

    I lived in AC for years and I never thought it was possible to swim against the current at the Longport Jetty, that you had to go with it otherwise you were swimming backwards. Super impressive!!

    When coming through Longport, we all bunched up around the jetty and pretty much swam on the rocks. The tide was beginning to chill a little. I think I got there in a little over three hours into the swim. The rest of the way was pretty much a slack tide from Dorsett Avenue bridge to the finish.

    I've probably done 40 escorted swims; mostly 25K and up. Atlantic City was probably the hardest one I did (while having a good swim and things going your way). I got crushed by a Lion's Mane jelly somewhere by Steel Pier. Right in the face. The tingly numbness kept my mind occupied, so I wasn't really focusing on the race. I came out of Longport in second and didn't look back. It was only my third race 15K or longer, but still one of my best efforts.

    This would be a great race to have again, and as always keep it draft legal behind the lifeguard boats.

    dpm50
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