The one mile race was my third ever open water race. Also third in two days. And my seventh trip around Lake Audubon. I put myself towards the back of my wave and followed the pack out onto the dogleg. This was the first (and only) time I actually caught a look at my lovely wife, watching from the walkway.
I was a little tired by this point but I figured there was no point in holding back, if I had any power to spare now was the time to pour it on. By this time navigating the course actually wasn't hard. I could feel that sighting was more effort than before, though. This was probably a good thing, because I think I started to be more efficient about it.
Everything felt pretty smooth until I had already passed the turnaround buoy and was on the long stretch back in. I slowly reeled in another swimmer who I had spotted a few yards ahead of me. I pulled up on his right within about 8 feet and half a body length behind. I figured I'd be happy to stay right there or, maybe, if I was lucky, actually pass him. But then the distance between us had disappeared and I had to veer right to avoid crashing into him. So I corrected and then I had to veer again to avoid crashing into him. And then a third time. I figured maybe I should try picking up my pace. If I spent less time swimming alongside him maybe he wouldn't have time to wander so far off course. Well that plan failed and the long-delayed collision took place. It wasn't really much of anything. I slowed down, skipped a stroke and got behind him for the draft. I'm still having trouble with drafting so after a little while I swung way out to his left and got back to swimming my own pace.
I lost track of him almost immediately so I don't know if I actually did wind up passing him or not. For that matter I can't tell if he was practicing some racing technique and deliberately boxing me out or if he just tends to pull to the right. In fairness I should allow that I may have been pulling to the left. But I don't think so.
When I got around the drain I let it all go and did a reasonable approximation of a sprint into the finish line.
Three races, one clinic, two days and it was time to head for home.
After I grabbed a little more food