I took Kev's advice and lined up way to the right of the pack, close to the boats. When they said go, I didn't. I counted to ten and then jumped in to avoid the washing machine, after all I just want to finish the swim. The jitters were gone from my short warm-up swim and I took off.
And it was good. The weather was perfect. The water was perfect. It was just a great day. I swam my pace and never panicked, I thought I was getting tired on the way to the first marker, and thought about moving to a boat and just taking a break, but I told myself to stop being an asshat and just swim. I usually take breaks, but I do because I can, not because I need to. I feel safer when I'm not tiring. Today I kept plugging along.
Because I was so far to the right the kayakers had to help me with direction a couple of times as I was swimming straight out instead of towards the first marker, nerves more than anything I think. But before I was even to the first marker I was mixing in with other swimmers. And it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Granted, the back of the pack is where the non-combative swimmers hang out, but it wasn't nearly as hard to move through people as I thought it would be.
I swung wide of the first marker to avoid the washing machine and by now had some confidence going. Dare I say I had mo-men-tum? I was really doing it. Finally, after all of 2007 teaching myself to swim, then failing two tri swims, and dealing with those failures plus the anxiety of my fear of water for the past year, I was finally swimming in the middle of the damn lake.
And I liked it. I liked it a lot.
Rounding the second marker I picked up the pace a little bit. I was tiring, but not terribly. I was sighting good and swimming straight. Here is where I really got into the people. I'd find some feet to draft on but I was going faster than most people, remember, I was the last one in the water, and I wanted to get to shore and get on with it. Which I finally did.
And I wasn't even close to being the last one out of the water.
On the beach I turned, faced the lake and gave it the double-barreled middle fingers. Which I am sure left many people wondering who I hated in the lake. At the time, it was to the lake, saying I'd finally beat it. In retrospect, it wasn't the lake, I think I left a lot of fear in that water. I can't guarantee that I'll never get anxious about swimming again, But I now have a better idea of what I am capable of doing, and I don't need to be afraid anymore.
Into T1, I took a little too long. I washed my feet, put on socks, the Garmin 305, pulled my shirt on four times, etc. Probably only 3 minutes. Then my Dad was there. In transition. Talking to me. Not what I expected as I was in a damn big hurry! But he was able to get my bag and suit out for me. And I got the hell going. I had a lot of swim champs to pass.
Total time for the swim and T1: 21:47. Next: The Bike