Santa Cruz Roughwater Swim 2006

roughwater_2006.jpg Yesterday, I swam the Santa Cruz Roughwater Swim – my 2nd year in a row. My only goal this time around was to beat my last time, which I did but only by a measly 5 seconds, finishing in 25:12! The Roughwater swim is a 1 mile swim around the pier at Santa Cruz, done without a wetsuit or anything other than some lycra and latex. This year’s swim was decidedly more aggressive than last year – I’m not sure if it was just the group around me or not, but it felt more like a triathlon start – I got elbowed in the ear and squashed between two swimmers in the first few minutes! But things settled down after we got a few hundred meters out, thankfully. We also had our friendly cohort of sea lions waiting for us again at the end of the pier, barking quizically at the bizarro folks that had decided to swim with them that day.

This year there was one interesting complication: A high bacteria count just under the pier. They had signs posted on the beach and, oddly, buoys out in the ocean. The race officials said just to be sure to swim outside the buoys and it would be fine. This all seemed rather strange to me. The bacteria aren’t tethered to the ocean floor or anything – have these guys heard of currents? There just happens to be one over in Santa Cruz. So why did they think the bacteria would stay put? At any rate, I decided that I hadn’t spent an hour driving over the mountains just to turn around, so I jumped in. A day and a half later, I still feel fine, so maybe those bacteria decided to respect the buoys and stay put.

roughwater_naked.jpg In any case, the route was slightly longer than last year, which made me feel a bit better about my 5 second difference from last year. Next year’s goal: Sub 25 minutes!

After my race I went down to cheer on some of the other finishing swimmers, and saw the cutest little girl cheering for her mom. Suddenly she decided she needed to get changed, but as her Dad was taking care of her, her mom appeared up out of the water and she SPRINTED down the beach to help her run up to the finish. I just barely managed to snap this shot! I thought it was a fitting finale to the event… I wish I knew who that mom was so I could send her this shot!

Once again the Santa Cruz Lifeguard Association pulled off a great event. If there are any swimmers out there looking for a great intro to open water swim races (in 59 degree water!) this is a good place to get started! I’ll be back again next year for sure!


~ by Nathan on July 30, 2006.

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