Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tulsa Swim

Back around the Barkley Book Fair, I was visiting with my friend Robert Ray about tri's among other things, and he told me of his plans to do the Tulsa Swim, a new event at Lake Heyburn. This was all swimming, and featured a 500 meter swim, a 2K, and a 4K. Four kilometers is 2.4 miles, and is the distance you have to swim in an Ironman. Robert told me we was very comfortable in the water, and intended to do both the 500 meter and the 4K. I was skeptical, but told him I would come cheer him on. Well, today was the day!!

I also became better acquainted with Danny Gassaway, who is the RD of the Tulsa Swim. Danny has helped me in some of my events timing in the Snake Run, and course marshaling at Lake McMurtry. Danny asked me if I would consider doing the swim, and I actually did consider it for about two seconds before laughing out loud. See, I am a sinker. My legs are like lead, and I would be a bottom dweller as soon as I hit the water. Look no further than my swim portion in the Port to Fort Adventure Race, where I wore a hefty life jacket, and nearly panicked anyway, and was the last one out of the water. I told Danny I'd talk it up, and would volunteer doing something since I would be there as a spectator anyway.

Lake Heyburn is southwest of Tulsa, west of Sapulpa, and basically nestled in the center of a triangle from Sapulpa to Kellyville to Drumright. Trust me, it's in there somewhere, but is hard enough to find that a few people were late getting there.

There were patchy spots of fog  all around this Sunday morning, and the lake was calm I'd say the lake was down 3-4 feet and it was said that you could actually stand up in many places on the route.
Brian and TATUR timing were performing their craft. There were around 100 entered, in the three events, with five doing the double. (Robert was one of those five!)

I helped out at the signup table, fixing timing chips to the ankle straps, then as Danny had to leave to send off the 500 meter race, I handled signup, packet pickup, chips and straps, and writing numbers on arms. Fortunately, it never got too hectic, but I did miss seeing all of the 500 meter event. Something amazing (to me anyway) happened. The 500 meter was almost over when a guy got out of the water fairly close to where I was, and ran up to me and asked if he could get his packet. I thought he had finished or was at least in the 500 meter, and did not have his chip, BUT, he was late getting to the race because of goofy mapping on his phone. He ended up on the other side of the lake but he could see where he needed to be. Since it was nearing the time for his (4K) race to start, he parked his car and simply swam across the lake!! And after his finish, he swam back.
Here, the swimmers have left, and a few friends and family awaited their finish. The water was still pretty still. My new assignment was keying in finishers numbers on a keypad. I wanted to get a few pictures of finishers, but entering numbert and hitting enter was important.
The swimmers swam a big triangle loop. One kilometer per loop. It was impossible to tell who was who standing on the shore.
RD Danny Gassaway awaits the first 2K finisher. I have to hand it to him--the event went smooth, everyone seemed to have a good time, and I heard zero complaints. :-)
I had some downtime near the end. Robert was the final finisher and was maybe 20 minutes behind the swimmer ahead. For many, the last 50 yards in squishy mud was as much of a challenge as the swim.
Robert stayed steady and never gave up. He jogged across the finish line and I was impressed. He was one of five who earned two medals, and swam close to 5K. Way to GO!!
Results can be found here.

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