Being on a guide boat for an open water swimmer can be all work and no play … but if the stars line up and all is going well … there is still a lot of room for play.
The 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim was practice for swimming the English Channel. So we had our serious selves on most of the time.
The work includes:
• Timing strokes every 10 minutes. (On this swim they were consistently between 59 and 61 per minute.)
• Delivery of Nutrition. The rules are that the swimmer may not touch the boat or a human, so the boys developed a bucket/net contraption on an paint roller extension pole to be used in the delivery of nutrition every 30 minutes. The chosen product is called Infinit. This is a pretty cool product that is a uniquely customized blend of nutrition made to Doug’s specifications. A powder mixed with water, it tastes kind of like a slushy lemony Gatorade without all the sugar. He used this product exclusively during this 24 mile swim and never felt hungry.
• Handling emergencies. Jellyfish stings, our swimmer heading in the wrong direction, other swimmers swimming under our boat, calculating our position for water depth. It’s important to keep your swimmer out of shallow water as that causes a change in stroke technique, which can in turn cause muscle injury. This happened to one person, a good friend of ours, in this Tampa Bay swim.
The fun includes:
• Good music and off color jokes.
• Swatting bugs.
• Learning to use a tiny bathroom.
• Trying not to look while the boys pee off the back.
• Solving the world’s problems.