Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014 Lap Swim Awards Night

I am the first person to tell you that I welcome the end of summer every year. My favorite seasons are the fall and winter, and for the record, I was into pumpkin spice well before it became a fad! Anyway, this summer could not have ended on a better note!

Wednesday August 27th was the annual lap swim awards night. Swimming friend Jia Jung brought me as her plus one to last year's awards night, and it was how I discovered the amazing parks lap swimming program! It is a huge party complete with catering from Katz's Deli, a 4x200m relay race, awards, t-shirts for those who swam 25 miles or more, and is a great change to socialize with pool friends as the season comes to a close. 

The night started off with the 4x200m relay. Each session (Early Bird and Night Owl) from each pool selects 4 people to compete. I can't stand sprinting, but love relays and being a member of a team, so I was honored to swim! The Lasker Early Birds consisted of two South Africans (Richard and Ted), one Brit (Paula), and one American (me, in a Wonder Woman swimsuit). Our order was strategic: Ted (build the lead), me (hold and build the lead), Paula (hold and really build the lead), and Richard (get us to the wall as fast as humanly possible). We were in the 4th heat, so we had plenty of time to watch all the other teams swim. Eventually it was our turn! My stomach in knots at the prospect of a dreaded 50m sprint, I jumped into the pool and waited for Ted to touch the wall. I pushed off the wall like a spring, and breathed about 5 times for the next 50m (Francis said he's never seen me swim that fast). I thought I was going to DIE the last 10 meters! Slammed the wall with my hand, and Paula took off, increasing our lead. Then it was time for our anchor to bring us home! No one could come anywhere near the tall and speedy Richard, and we won our heat by several body lengths! We were so excited! After getting some dinner, they finally announced the relay winners. We came in a SECOND PLACE! Go Lasker Early Birds! It was so exciting walking up to that podium with such a great group of swimmers.

I should also note, that Lasker had two fabulous in water cheerleaders, Magdalena and Amy! We were on an outside lane, and they were walking along in the lane to our right. They contributed to our success big time, and were a great addition to the great people cheering from the pool deck!

The night concluded with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place distance awards. I came in second after a very dedicated swimmer named Valentina. Catherine, the mayor of Lasker came in third. 

This was the perfect capstone to a very busy summer of swimming. The NYC swimming community is truly something special. It is full of supportive, energetic, and truly caring people that I feel honored to call my friends. Whether I am at a CIBBOWS or NYC Swim event, a Lasker picnic and pre-work swim session, I find myself feeling so thankful to be a small part of such a fantastic community. While it is lonely during the winter when I have my 5:45 AM workouts, this support system is there when I get out of the pool, and some may just even be there next to me at the crack of dawn this year. It is something I treasure most dearly, and love about New York. This city gets a bad wrap for being lonely, empty, and soulless. And while that may be true in some ways, its swimming community is full of amazing people who make the big city seem more like an idyllic Walnut Grove (minus Nellie Oleson, of course). 

I have one more race this summer, the Little Red Lighthouse 10K, and then it will be back to training for some marathon swims next summer. And also plenty of Lasker gatherings throughout the fall and winter months. 

Happy Pumpkin Spice Season! So far, I have had three pumpkin lattes, two servings of pumpkin soup, pumpkin salt water taffy, and pumpkin fudge. 

Hold Fast,

Warming up for the relay!
2nd place Lasker Early Birds! Paula, Ted, me, Richard
Richard and I Right after we won our heat! Picture courtesy Nan Melville.
2014 Lap Swim Awards Night. Picture courtesy Nan Melville.
The Lasker Early Bird distance winners! Andy (third man from the left) swam further than ANY of us! He is a tank! Picture courtesy Nan Melville.
My distance trophy
Me and Jia! She got first place at McCarren pool. Thanks to her, I found this amazing program!