The Hummer Mile open-water swim

Swimmers had to go the length of the lake twice for a mile.

Swimmers had to go the length of the lake twice for a mile.

On Saturday my niece Madison participated in the Glenn S. Hummer Huntington Mile, an open-water swimming event held at Clare Lake in Huntington, Ind.

The 1-mile swim was a down-and-back course with two lanes along a cable that required two “laps” to complete. Buoys around the lake marked the course for a three-lap, 5K swim later in the afternoon.
Though I just heard about this event this year, when Madison began swimming with the Otters Swim Club, it’s been held for decades.  Sadly, participation has dwindled to the point that parents I talked to said they might not hold the race next year, or at least not at the same location. Too bad, because it would make a great training venue for triathletes.
It’s amazing how fast some of these swimmers are. The fastest time I saw was just under 20 minutes. (It takes me about 17 minutes to swim 1/4 of that distance!) Madison finished her mile swim in 32:31:09. Here’s what she had to say about her first open-water race:
Q. What were the biggest challenges for you swimming a mile in a lake vs. swimming the same distance in a pool?
A. The biggest challenges for me was not being able to see. It kind of freaked me out because I didn’t know if I was going in a straight line or way out of the course. In the lake you saw the same scenery in that long stretch so it felt like you were never moving. I think it would have been easier in a pool because it would feel like it was going faster and there would be no waves to swim over.
 Q. What would you do differently next time?
A. Next time I would definitely not freak myself out. I would also definitely not start on the inside by the cable.  I instantly got squished and had to stop for a moment till I could actually swim. Next time, I will try to push myself harder since I know that I can do the whole mile.
Q. What’s this corkscrew turn you were talking about?
A. The corkscrew turn is just where when you get to the end to turn around the pole and you do your last freestyle pull then flip on your back and immediately do a backstroke pull with your opposite arm, then with your opposite arm again start taking a freestyle pull as your flipping back to your stomach. You do all that while you’re turning. My coach said it would have taken 20 seconds off each turn I had to make.
(Note: Click here for a step-by-step guide to the corkscrew turn on feelforthewater.com.)
Q. Are you glad you did it?
A. I am glad that I did it. Even though I felt like I was dying and that I wasn’t going to make it. I was happy with the time I got because I have never have done anything like this before especially in open water, and all the other kids have been swimming club for a long time and have done this before. It was a really fun experience and I got to hang out with all my friends all day. Plus, I got a cool t-shirt.
Otter teammates from left:  Libby, Megan, Madison and Caitlin

Otter teammates from left: Libby, Megan, Madison and Caitlin

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One Response to The Hummer Mile open-water swim

  1. I love that corkscrew is perfectly acceptable in triathlon!!! You can also use it to flip on your back and see what’s happening behind you.

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