Dart 10K

Open water Swim 14th September 2013

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15/09/2013 at 20:04

Everything was going well, feeling strong and I was concentrating on my stroke to get as efficient as possible.  Even the water didn’t feel too bad and I was warming up all the time, especially when my bladder let go!!  It’s not as difficult learning to pee whilst swimming as it is doing the same thing whilst cycling!!  I think I like my bike too much to pee all over it anyway!  

At about 3K was the first ‘feed station’.  I was surprised when it came up so fast, but as I reached into the leg of my wetsuit to retrieve a stashed gel I felt the first twinge of cramp.

I shouted to another swimmer I recognised.  She’d tied a rubber duck to the straps of her goggles and I found myself staring at this object at the back of her head!!

I’d swum the river a fortnight ago and had been surprised at how salty it was.  I’d made the mistake of not bothering to shave on the earlier swim and I seemed to have spent a lot of time rasping my tongue over the stubble on my chin.  This had left me with a seriously sore tongue.  It almost felt like I’d had something caustic in my mouth so kept on wiping and cleaning the tip of my tongue.  It took days to recover from that so I’d made sure I had a really close shave early on.  Anyway, after necking a quick gel there was no time to waste.  I’d already overtaken quite a few of the yellow hats from the earlier wave and felt I was up in the top 50 of the red wave.  Everything going well apart from the twinges in my lower legs which meant I had to curl my feet and toes back creating drag.  The twinges turned into full cramps about 1k before the second feedstation.  They weren’t helped by the feeling of dragging your fingers across the top of the bottom of the river in parts.  Obviously this is what swimmers in front of me were also doing as the water, which was brown and thick to start with and was no almost thick enough to chew!!  It looked like a chocolate milkshake, if only it tasted like one too!

The second feed station was on a raft in the middle of the river.  I was pleased to see that as it meant we were well over half way!  Another gel, more cramp and with Meldy’s voice ringing in my ear ‘Don’t be shit Siggy‘ i was on.  My arms and shoulders were getting very sore by now, but a quick chat with one of the surfer event crew, who told me we only had 2K to go and it was 3.30 got me to believe I might make just over two hours for the swim!  I went through a low patch when I felt I had completed at least 2k after my chat with the surfer and the finish was still not in sight!  Blue hats from the later wave were now coming past me as if I was swimming doggy paddle too!  But it I could see quite a few boats moored in the middle of the river and surely that must be the last bend and then the finish.

Sure enough the jetskis were herding swimmers around the bend and there was a huge crowd on the river bank.  A few more strokes and I was ankle deep in sludge!

Helped across some rocks and up to the timing mat and that’s it done!  

A quick time check with a volunteer who said it was 4.10 and, so if we started at 1.45 that would mean a 2.25 swim for 10K!  I’d been hoping for any time between 2 1/2 and 3 hours  so I was well pleased with that!  

However, a text today confirmed that the time across the mats was actually 2.35.29.  But I’m still pleased with that!  Take off the ‘Dustboy’ faffage at the start and crawling over the stones at the finish and it would have been closer to 2 1/2!

It’s a good base for the swim training to come over the wint

15/09/2013 at 20:06

Would I do it again?  Probably, but only if it was cheaper!  £75 for this is a too pricey!

But for those nervous about open water swimming or 'mass' starts it would be great!

It is well organised and very friendly event though!


15/09/2013 at 20:27

Great race report!

The rough tougue is common in salt water.  I know that it was only brackish in th Dart, but if you aren't used to it then salt water can do a lot of damage.

Open water swimmers tend to be 'nicer' in the water than triathletes as a rule.  Swimmers are more confident in their swimming ability generally and therefore don't panic and thrash as much.  Swimmers are also capable of swimming in a straighter line so tend to avoid hitting each other.

2:30ish is a fantastic time Siggy!  Well done and if you want to do some cheaper long distance swimming events, drop me a line and I'll recommend some.

15/09/2013 at 20:31

Thanks SC!  I'm not a 'cold water' swimmer though!  I had two silicone hats on yesterday and was just about right!

The lead swimmer completed it in about two hours!!

Just goes to show how strong the current and following wind were I guess!!

15/09/2013 at 20:42

 I had my time texted to me. I was in the yellow wave which went off I think just after 1:30. I phoned my wife at 4:35 after I'd changed, so you would surmise I took well under 3 hours. STS chip time says 3:32. Siggy, I think there has been a prob with the timing system so don't take it as gospel.

This was my first over IM distance race and I had a great time. I will do it next year.

Incidentally, I don't think it's particularly expensive given what they lay on and the amount of safety support they provide. 

15/09/2013 at 20:45

Soggy,wide you do SDW50 last year?

15/09/2013 at 20:46

They make a lot of profit from it.  If you don't mind that then fair enough, but I don't like that they encourage people to think that they are volunteers and almost of charitable status and then they fleece you on race entries.  I feel that they should be honest about being a business if they want to charge those sort of fees.

15/09/2013 at 20:46

Ok, should have read: Siggy, did you do SDW50 last year?

15/09/2013 at 20:48

SC, wats the best resource for OW events and swimming?

15/09/2013 at 21:00

Well done siggy.  great race report.

I'm very tempted by this one next year as it's almost on home turf but it is expensive.

I seem to remember you aren't too far away siggy so maybe we should find a river to swim somewhere next year instead of the lakes

15/09/2013 at 21:17

SDW50, Snap?  Ha! ha!  That involves running doesn't it?  My knees have enough trouble running a 10K!  

No, this has been my longest proper swim over IM distance apart from a couple of 5 / 6 k swims last month!

Thanks for the info on the timings!  I thought our wave (red) started at 1.45 and I was clambering out asking the time as they took the chip off and was told 4.10.  Either way 2 1/2 is reasonable for what I put in tbh!  I *do* want to get under the hour for the IM swim though!

ItB, I'm in the process of moving down to Devon from Surrey.  Nice down here, but a lack of any decent lakes and rivers to swim in!

15/09/2013 at 21:37

Snap!  There isn't really one placce where all events are listed.  H2Open magazine is trying to fill that gap but its taking time to get established.

I find out about most of my events through Facebook.  There are various local and national groups set up depending on what sort of swimming you like doing.  For example, today I've been invited to one in September 2014, as well as three smaller get togethers in the next month or so.

16/09/2013 at 22:57

Well done Siggy, personally can't think of anything worse than swimming 10k but very impressive!

11/08/2015 at 20:50

Just found this discussion re swimming. Could you please advise me how it is possible to swim with a full calf cramp in both legs? I did Dart 10k once and it struck around 3k, despite me taking hydration and special tablets. There was nothing I could do to stretch it out and even the rescue man tried to stretch it out but to no avail. I found it completely impossible to continue and I was taken out. The ache continued for a few days. I feel I can never attempt a distance swim ever again in case it recurs though I love swimming! Is it possible to train to somehow overcome the pain?

12/08/2015 at 09:28

Crikey!  Bring out your dead!!  This thread has been buried a while!!

Richard, I used to get cramp in my calves on every longish distance swim I did.  I'm now very careful on the lead up to an event to make sure I'm properly hydrated prior to the event.  To the extent that I take a sachet of that stuff you're supposed to have after you get the sh1ts!  Magnesium tablets also help.  I also wear calf guards underneath the wetsuit to add a bit of extra compression to my calves.
Having said that I've just done the Henley Bridge to Bridge (14K) on the weekend and forgot my calf guards!!  I still took the Dioralyte (sp?) sachet the evening before and a Nuun tablet in water as I went to the start.  The only time I got more than a real twinge was getting in and out at the feed stations / locks.  

If I feel a twinge coming on I curl my toes back up towards my knees (as if you're stretching the calf).  It's like throwing an anchor out whilst your swimming, but at least you're still moving forwards.  I generally hardly kick my legs except in the last couple of hundred yards of the swim.

My advice to you would be to get a sports massage and get the masseuse to concentrate specifically on your calves (more than they normally would).  It may hurt, but it will do you good!  There's obviously a weakness / underlying scar tissue there that you have (I know I have) and the massage may release something to help you, it did/does with me!  Also get one of those foam rollers and use it on your calves to keep them supple.  Don't stop with the foam roller on your calves either, use it on your ITB's and thighs.

Hope that helps!


12/08/2015 at 11:02

Seeing this reminds me I should really put upside sort of report on the recent Henley 'Bridge to Bridge' 14K swim from the weekend.  I'll set about it later tonight.   

13/08/2015 at 08:48
Prince Siegfried wrote (see)

Seeing this reminds me I should really put upside sort of report on the recent Henley 'Bridge to Bridge' 14K swim from the weekend.  I'll set about it later tonight.   

I was wondering if I had missed that!  I've recovered now and I got some therapy by filling in their feedback survey last night!!

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