Resolved: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim

by klassman

In 1999, I swam the GCBS in 2:03:59.  It was about a week before my 25th birthday.

The following year, I finished eight places lower in the standings at 104th and came up the beach in 1:56:05.

The day before my 28th birthday, I turned in a best time of 1:54:28 and my worst finish, 163rd in the field.  According to one way of thinking, 2002 was also the second “easiest” GCBS race.

I’ve been to the race at least four other times.  Once to do the 1 mile swim and twice to cheer and spectate with the tribe while Dana tackled the 1 mile swim.  My final entry in the GCBS was 11 years ago.  I was about to turn 29 and crossed the bay in 1:45:10 for 41st place.

At this link, you can see a cool chart (with all of my crossings) showing finish times across nearly two decade’s worth of entries.  To date, there have been more than 6,103 swimmers making 13,861 crossings during the GCBS.

The race is for charity and it is difficult to secure an entry unless you swam the previous year.  I’ve entered a lottery and will hopefully get a bib number later this month for the 2014 race.  It will be 15 years since I first walked down the beach at Sandy Point and more than a decade since my best showing.  I’m older, slower to recover and have a lot more going on at home.  I’m also in better shape and have hopefully learned something about endurance activities in the past few years.

In addition to the distance which translates to time in the water, major factors that are out of control of participants include tidal currents, water temperature, wind and thus chop and swell, and sea nettles.  It is neither an impossible swim, nor for the weak of heart.

Resolved: If I get in this year will be my best ever.  (With a hat tip to Diana Nyad.)

An arial view taken for a 1970s era postcard. Sandy Point Beach and the start is to the lower left, the finish is on the right side of the bridge across the Bay.