Monday, March 6, 2017

Chennai Swimathon 2017

The initiative was by Chennai Trekking Club and this was the 1st ever Swimathon that took place on  Ottiambakkam Lake on 04 March 2017.
Swimmers had come from all parts of India mainly - 20 states. Majority from Chennai and Bengaluru.

Ottiambakam Lake
It is actually a quarry located near Sholinganallur / Medavakkam area in Chennai. It is a hidden jewel and a place to visit for nature lovers. The depth is approx 150 ft deep and length 300 meters. Can be easily accessible by road.
Ottiabakam lake - view from Top

Ottiabakam Lake
Since i had registered for the 5k, i had to do a good amount of practice to stay fit and cover the distance within the stipulated time of 3 hours. Thanks to Rahul for his help as i was able to use the Club Swimming Pool in Begur area - SNN Raj Serenity. My training was from Monday to Friday during the office hours early morning to avoid crowd. I was the lucky one only to be in the pool and could practice for long hours. Practice sessions would vary from a 1km to 2kms swim. February month - i increased my distance to a 2km swim everyday within a time frame of 1:15 minutes.

The Final Day
Drove to Chennai, met a couple of friends in Jain Abhishek in East Tambaram area. Slept early to avoid any exhaustion on the final day. Woke at 3:45 am, got ready and drove to the venue. The event was to start at 6 am so had to stick to the time. We were using torches to fill out the risk form as it was still dark. Got the Bib Nos:603 on my left shoulder. A quick briefing was done by the volunteers for the 5k, 10k and 15k Swimmers. A quick thank you session followed by a warm up exercise.

The 5km calculation 
In order to complete the 5km swim, i had to do 16 loops. One side - length was 150 meters, so to complete a loop - it was 300 mtrs. and last lap was of 200 mtrs to the finish line. The 5km swim had to be completed in a 3 hours slot in order to get the Finisher medal and T Shirt.

The 1st 8 loop (distance 2.4 kms)
3 batches had already left for the Swim - comprised of the 10 and 15k categories. It was finally the 5km batch to start of - off i was in the lake for the grand finale. Gosh - it was cold in the wee hours,,
a few pushes to the start and was off to the other end of the lake. By the time i finished the 1st loop - it looked a herculean task to complete 16 loops. I planned to finish the 8 loops with a mininal break and less consumption of any type of fluids. Freestyle with more support from back kicks and arms movement to glide through the water. At the 3rd loop - i was more comfortable as there were less swimmers to bump into and was very calm and patient with my freestyle movement. I wanted to finish the 8 loops with a short span of time before the Sun was out. Took a break at 5th and 7th loop for bananas, chocolate and cup of water. I did panic in between as my left foot started to ache with cramps - i stopped my movement to avoid any further cramps and put more effort to the right foot. By the time i finished my 8 loops - i was confident to finish the 5km with the stipulated time of 3 hours.

9 to 16th Loop (distance 2.4kms) 
The time taken to cover the loops now were more longer with breaks in between. I switched over to breaststroke for 2 loops to relax my leg movement. I had to peep out quite often to correct my course of direction. Improved on my breathing technique. The last 4 loops looked a distance to cover - exhausted and wanted to finish the race in a sprint. But i had to be calm as i had the biggest fear of getting cramps in my legs. I cooled down breaks, couple of chats with Ashish Tiwari- my old buddy from Flex who was a volunteer at the event. I was now close to finish the 16th loop, my timings were good and i knew had enough time to spare.

The last loop (distance 200 meters)
When i took the final turn to complete the 200 meters - it was sheer excitement and exhilaration that i had never imagined - it was a moment of achievement and all the hard work put for past 2 months.
Thankfully - my lungs , legs and arms supported all the way to the finish line. I finally called my Bib Nos. 603 to the volunteers just to confirm that i had finished all the 16.5 loops. -and i did.

Start :    6:15 AM
Finish :  8:43 AM
Rank : 10th
Total Swimmers in 5k category : 99
Finisher - 5km

with Peter (CTC)
moment to joy
Big Thanks
 A big thanks to all Volunteers of CTC and sponsors. CTC has always been inspirational for the variety of events. Chennai - an amazing city and my family- 2 beautiful ladies - Soma and Siya who are always there to support for all the crazy stuff i keep doing ,,,,

"The Miracle isn't that i finished, it's that i had the courage to start." - John Bingham