Monday, August 06, 2007

Hobbs Pond Swim 2007

Last year Mark decided that he wanted to swim in the annual Hobbs Pond Swim, which takes place in August each year. It's an informal swim, no registration fees, no prizes, no T-shirts, anyone is welcome to do it. They claim it's "about" a half-mile swim, but who knows. Anyway, Mark wanted to do it. He's done a couple of semi-distance swims, mostly just across our cove and back. He didn't do any training or anything, although that was originally the plan.

So, yesterday was the big day. We knew where the swim started (at the town beach), but not what the course was or anything. Mark, Kira, me, Dad & Kenneth piled into the boat and tied on the canoe (which we ended up not using) and headed down to the other end of the pond. About halfway there, we saw a buoy with a big flag on it. Dad (later to be known as Mr. Doom-and-Gloom) decided that this was the marker that Mark was going to have to swim to from the town beach, which made NO sense, because you couldn't even SEE the town beach from the marker, and the pond is about a mile or so long, and it was supposed to be a half-mile swim at most. But Dad was trying to talk Mark out of the swim, so he kept hammering at it that Mark wouldn't be able to swim that far, and that he should not do the race this year and work on some more training for maybe next year. Mark just kept repeating that he was gonna do it. (Kenneth and I privately agreed that if that *was* the marker, Mark had no business doing the swim, because it would just be insane.)

Naturally, it turned out NOT to be the right buoy. The race course was clearly marked with several HUGE inflatable buoy-things, it was along the shoreline at the town beach end, and the depth of water was such that Mark could have stood up for most of it. It was a distance, but I was pretty confident that Mark would be able to make it. My private goal for Mark was for him to just finish the swim, not to "place" or anything, which would be ridiculous, because he was going against people who were pretty close to professional swimmers, including his buddy Eddie and his sisters, who had been on the swim team since they were four, and Liane is a Junior-level championship swimmer. (she placed third this year)

So, Mark signed up, got his little orange swim cap with his number on it (13, our lucky number), the rest of us got back in the boat and found a good spot to watch the start of the race from. It was a "ready, set, GO!" start-off, no whistle or anything. They started from the shoreline, waded in, started swimming, had to go past certain buoys in a certain order, back to the shoreline, and had to be completely out of the water for their time to be called.

Mark is SO not a professional. :D He buddied up with Eddie's little brother (also Mark), stayed with him, TALKED to him during the swim, and they both finished together with the same time. Which was 17:29. The fastest time was, I think, eight minutes and something. Liane got 8:57. Eddie finished in 11-ish. There were a bunch of people who finished after Mark, though, so he was not dead-last, which was very cool. I should be able to get official statistics later.

I am very, VERY proud of Mark. He set this goal for himself last year, he followed through and did it, and he did not let anyone dissuade him. He was pretty proud of himself, too, although he kept quiet about it.

Pictures, of course. mk

Lining up. Mark's the one just about in the middle, in the orange shorts. You could tell the people who took this really seriously, because they were all in spandex suits. There were some major Speedo errors. Just look away.

And they're off! The next picture after this was basically just one big splash with body parts sticking out at various places.

This is on the return lap. It's my favorite of all the pictures I took of the swim. The kid in the goggles is Eddie's brother Mark. He's one of the Speedo crowd.

Past the laaaaaast buoy. Mark's a bit floppy at this point (not that he has the best swimming form anyway, but he is *tired*).

A bare second before his time was called. He made it!!! Mama so proud.

Update: Stats are in. A record 48 participants, Mark was placed at #37. Average age of participants was 36.8, ranging from a 9-year-old girl to a 71-year-old man. Average time was 14:13. Fastest time was 7:53, by a 14-year-old boy. 14 people were from the Maine Masters Swim Club. (one of them, a 67-year-old man, finished after Mark.)

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