Swim Report – August 7, 2010 – Point to LaPointe 2-Miler (a.k.a. Bayfield 2.0)

Two years ago, I predicted that the Point to LaPointe 2-Mile swim would become “one of the preeminent open water swim events in the Midwest – if not nationwide.”

Well folks, it’s definitely there!

The swim is still mostly a Midwest event with the majority of the racers hailing from Minnesota and Wisconsin. But the iconic race sold out at 300 participants and drew competitive swimmers from as far away as New York, California, Florida, and Oregon – far eclipsing the 15 community swimmers who were once the bulwark of the event.

Bottom line, for better or worse, the Point to LaPointe 2-Miler has officially become a serious competitive swim event.

So let’s talk about the actual swim now, shall we?

The race day morning ushered in partly overcast skies accompanied by slightly cooler but quite pleasant air temperatures (est. 65F). An unusually warm Midwest summer gave us 70F water temperatures, making the swim quite palatable in our extra neoprene layers.

Based on previous event conditions, wetsuits were strongly recommended – if not implied as a requirement. I only saw four participants without wetsuits, and I understand that they had to get special permission from the race director to do so. In retrospect, I should have done this as I was quite toasty in my Xterra fullsuit. But I did appreciate the extra buoyancy…

The swim started off just as I remembered two years ago. The large throng of male swimmers salmoned its way out of the Bayfield harbor area to the first swim buoy before finally spreading out and settling into a groove. The equally numerous female swimmers followed eight minutes later with the small band of community swimmers rounding out the “caboose” of the water train.

Sighting was much easier this time around thanks to relatively calm waters and three gigantic yellow balloons (dirigibles?) tethered to the finish line. In fact, I didn’t even pay attention to the other swim buoys lining the race route – I just pointed at the helium-filled lighthouses during my entire time in the water.

I kept a constant swim pace (much faster than I usually do out at L1) and made pretty good headway until about the one-mile mark, when a slight breeze moved in from the south/southeast. This was the exact opposite of what happened two years ago – which gives you an even better appreciation of how unpredictable Lake Superior can be!

This south/southeast sustained wind created a subtle but insidious current which added an extra quarter mile (or more) to the race distance for a number of swimmers. I managed to power through this current, and I’m fairly certain I stayed on a relatively straight course. But it would be quite interesting to see a GPS map of my swim route as I highly doubt it was as linear as I imagined.

I hammered the last 1/8 mile and reached the finish point at 1:17 – quite glad to be out of the water by that time! But the clouds had dissipated by then, and the sun was out in full force, bringing us another perfect high summer day. And as ephemeral as these can be in the northern Great Lakes, one can’t help but celebrate.

Swim finish lane

Looking back

Sea caves

Sandhill cranes

Raspberries!

6 Comments

  1. Kenny
    August 17, 2010

    Thanks for the report. I have to agree with the report and say that this will or has become a destination swim race for a few people. I say this because I am one of them Hailing in from New York. The swim was a great time and race. Looking forward to doing it again next year.

  2. diver dave
    August 14, 2010

    ? what is Irish confetti ?
    did you eat a few tons of those sweet lookin fresh raspberries ? they look bigger then strawberries

    • Steve
      August 15, 2010

      Irish confetti is a 1930’s term for bricks. And yes, I scoured that raspberry patch like a plague of locusts!

  3. Steve
    August 11, 2010

    I think there might be a parade for me scheduled on Lower Wacker Drive later this week – complete with rotten fruit and Irish confetti…

  4. diver dave
    August 11, 2010

    ??????? DID YOU WIN THE RACE ????????????
    WHEN WILL YOU SIGN AUTOGRAPHS AND KISS BABIES AT LADDER #1 ?

  5. Laura K
    August 11, 2010

    I’m heading up there on Sunday, for a week of kayaking, cycling and family fun!


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