For the last two years, the City of Mission Viejo and Mission Viejo Nadadores has been hosting open water events for master swimmers and amateur/age group swimmers alike. It was a friendly community event that allowed swimmers to connect and appreciate a new experience of lake swimming.
The event started on a beautiful Sunday morning at around eight o’ clock on the sand next to the lake. Swimmers signed in a check register where they received a masters swimming cap, a ankle chip in which they will track you, and a goody bag that includes gatorade, bodywash/conditioner/lotion/anti-fog remover for using after the event.
Swimmers had a nice little block-out area in which they can warm-up. There were numerous lifeguards and safety crew on deck in case any swimmers got into trouble. Before the races (1 mile, 800, and 400), there were safety meetings in which they talked about the disqualifications and what to do in distress.
There were about 10-12 swim teams in total, and they sent swimmers off in heats. The older swimmers went first (which was the majority of the masters and 13-14 age groups swimmers) for all three races.
I started my event around 10 o’ clock, when all the milers finished their race. Everyone was cheering for one another, and it was a very supportive enviornment for first time open water swimmers.
Although the water was slightly murky, the visibility was still good. The temperature of the lake was at a perfect temperature (above 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and the water was clean from litter and trash. I was fortunate to finish 3rd in my age group, right after one of my team mates (swimmers were given ribbons if you placed top six in your age group).
Perhaps the funniest thing that happened was during the 800 freestyle event for the 11-12 age group towards the end of the race. There was “traffic” out on the waters! A couple of ducks were swimming in the way of one of the swimmers (my sister) while she was trying to sprint towards the finish line.
A lot of people filmed that particular mishap and people clapped for her after she touched the touchpad.
Overall the event was a really great experience for anyone who wanted to try out something different. It was more of a family-friendly event rather than a competitive one. Anyone who wants to try it out next year are all welcome to come!