Cinco De Mayo Splash-2019

It was the season opener for the Big Island, open water swim circuit and the first event of the island’s Triple Crown series-the Cinco De Mayo Splash! Most of our Mauna Lani Master’s swim group participated and Sue and Noe represented us very well. Noe was the first lady out of the water and Susan was close behind Noe and finished first in her age group.

It was a perfect, windless morning with no swell present and pretty good water clarity for Anaehoomalu Bay in the Waikoloa Beach Resort. I’ve snorkeled at “A” Bay many times and know it’s pretty rocky close to shore so I was prepared for those conditions as well as exposed coral heads all over the swim course start. I was also mentally prepared for whatever creatures that might appear during the swim as I knew there had been several shark encounters by a kayaker and paddler in a OC-1 canoe as late as April 23 rd somewhere very close to our swim course. Check out these links for reference:

The 250 participants were all summoned to the north end of the beach around 7:50 for a pre-race meeting by our island’s legendary swim coach, Steve Barowski. I learned at the Hapuna Rough Water swim last year it’s a good idea to go and listen well at these meetings as the meeting is full of specific information including which side of the final buoy near shore to finish and any negative water conditions. Steve thanked the County of Hawaii Lifeguard crew in attendance providing jet-ski assistance as well as plenty of others gathered to assist on paddle boards.

If I had a complaint about this event it would be the lack of interim buoys to the turn around point. Because of this, I knew to site on the paddle boarder providing an escort to the front pack of swimmers to the first buoy which was easier than trying to site on the one and only turn buoy 1/2 mile out to sea. At 7:55 we all waded into the water and 5 of our group found each other and quickly waded into shoulder high water very close to the front of the pack. Kiddingly, I reminded our group what our coach Dave Prutow preaches at every practice, “stay long and if you get tired-get LONGER”. Coach Dave’s workouts are full of drills and reminders to enforce long, powerful strokes as opposed to fast and choppy strokes. He times us to prove that these longer strokes are not only easier to maintain but provides faster speeds especially over longer distances. THANKS DAVE for the great coaching!!!

I know from past races that it’s better to be near the front even if I’m not the fastest swimmer in the pack at least I’m not getting caught in the inevitable “log jamb” at the back of the pack. In addition the faster swimmers quickly accelerate and allow a nice orderly line to form directly behind them and that’s exactly what happened in this case. Perfect start-sea of bubbles that quickly caused the typical loss of lift but also a perfect draft.

A swimmer with a white suit featuring a skull and crossbones design provided the perfect hip to ride all the way to the turn buoy even though I wound up zig zagging behind him at times as he veered off course. Not sure who he was but he was hauling it sometimes in the right direction and sometimes not but in any case it made for an easier swim for half the distance. I lost site of my friend Rachel that I planned on sharing drafting duties with but she wound up finishing right behind me.

Overall it was a great race. No sea creature sightings and the Mauna Lani swim crew showed up and REPRESENTED WELL!!