So this the reason I won’t be at LOST Swimming on Saturday… but please carry on!
You can check out MIMS under the “events” tab on the NYCswim.org website… and then check out all the diverse group of entrants under the “swimmers” tab on the MIMS page.
Here is a bit of background on MIMS…
– the race starts at 7:25 am, Saturday, June 12. (I’m flying down Thursday morning).
-there are 25 solo swimmers and 11 relays (2, 4 and 6 person)
– there are swimmers from all over the world… of the 27 solo swimmers this year, there are: 17 USA, 5 Australia, 1 UK, 1 Spain, 1 Guatemala, 1 France, 1 Canada (me!)
– it is 46 km swim around counter-clockwise around Manhattan Island. It starts at the very south end of the island in Battery Park, then up the East River, into the Harlem River and down the Hudson River.
– the water is pretty clean, no shots required. Much better than it used to be… but it still NYC. Lets leave it at that.
– They supply a boat and captain, official observer, kayak and kayaker… and the swimmer supplies his own “swim crew” (in my case I was lucky enought to get my two marathon/Ironman/beer buddies, Alex McMillin and Peter von Euw!). The captain and kayakers main job is directional and strategic. Peter and Alex’s main job is feeding, monitoring, safety, communication, etc.
– water temp is usually between about 62F -66F… this year it has been warm, so we are expecting (hoping) warmer water, around 66F (no wetsuits for this race, of course… although some of the other shorter NYC Swim races allow them)
– MIMS is considered one of the “big” marathon swims in the world of open water swimming… right up there with the English Channel, Catalina Island and Lake Ontario.
– unlike other “big” marathon swims, this is a race, not a solo… and they only allow around 25 swimmers. As such it is very tough to get into. To qualify, one must: a) have swum either the EC or Catalina Island solos in the past 2 years or do a 4 hour qualifying swim in 61F water, b) athletic/swimming resume c) pool mile time d) 2 weeks of practices e) 5 page essay why you want to swim MIMS f) full medical exam g) cold water and distance training plan h) oh yeah, and it costs $1650… then it goes to the Selection Committee… and then, of all the applicants that meet those criterion they use a quota system to select the swimmers, based on: a) veterans / first timers b) male / female c) American / International. It sold out in 45 minutes this year… and I was one of the fortunate ones.
– as it is a race, there are several cut offs, so if you aren’t by them at the corresponding time… you get pulled! (kind of like the Ironman cutoffs). These are the cutoffs, as well as a 9 1/2 hour overall cut off:
– 46km in 9 1/2 hours is quite fast (4.8 kph) for open water… but there is some help from tides and currents, but these conditions can change, of course. Another related hazard is the whirlpools that occur when rivers converge at “Hell’s Gate” and “Spuyten Duyvil” (Spouting Devil, named a few hundred years ago by the Dutch settlers).
– one of the other risks is thunderstorms. The race has been cancelled or stopped and later resumed because of thunderstorms. The biggest problem with stopping and starting is that you often become hypothermic if you stop, even if you try and warm up in the boat, and it is not uncommon for swimmers not being able to resume the race.