To back up a little, before making my leap of faith into the water, I stopped for just a moment and started my watch. I didn't want the mistake of hitting the wrong button on it and not have my total time. Once I saw the timer running, I jumped.
The water felt warm, but not too warm. I think they said it was around 85 degrees. Because it was not a mass start, it wasn't too crowded and I just started swimming. I did still feel a little panicked at the beginning though, but it didn't matter, I was swimming in an ironman, my first ironman. I was happy.
The course takes you about .7 against the current as you go around Towhead Island. It's very easy to sight during this section because you really can't go anywhere but straight with an island on side of you and boats and the dock on the other. Anyhow, I still kept to the outside and swam closer to the docks.
Once past the island you go to your left to make your way out to the river. It was at this point that as I was turning my head to the right with my strokes, that I saw people defining God. People were walking on water! At least it looked like they were walking on water since my head was level with the water. The water was so shallow by the sandbar that it came up to people's ankles. As tempting as a little break would have been a little less than a mile into the swim, I was not going to stop and water walk. I did not spend all that time in the pool to walk, so I kept on swimming. I was waiting for my hand the hit the ground on one of my strokes, but it never did, so that was a good thing.
Once I turned at the buoy to make the finial home run stretch, I got a big breast stroke kick to my chest. It really hurt and the guys foot got stuck in my tri top and actually pulled my shirt down to my waist. errr. I stopped for just a second, but then kept swimming. During this section of the swim, we were swimming with the rivers current, but I couldn't feel a current at all. At least the water was calm and smooth for the most part besides all the splash we were all making. I swam on the outside again and probably ended up tacking on a little extra to my swim because of this.
The whole time I just remember thinking, that the swim was going by so fast and that I felt good. I tried to draft off people with no luck. But, the sighting was not an issue at all as the entire swim is in a straight line. There was tons of buoys and even if you couldn't spot a bouy, you could just pick a column on one of the bridges. There was two bridges that we went under. When I got to the first bridge, I couldn't believe I was there already. I swam some more and the before I knew it was going under the second bridge.
I began to see Joe's Crab shack (where the swim exit was) and started to get excited. I knew I was getting close. I kept waiting to see bikes in the transition area but I never saw those. As I got closer and closer to the swim exit the water got really crowded. I found myself swimming over people or squeezing in-between people. Some super friendly person grabbed my leg and tried pulling me to swim over top me. Um not. I kicked really hard and got away from them. As I made my final strokes to the steps, I still couldn't believe how fast the swim went by in my mind. I was almost sad it was over, but I was so happy I survived.
Once I made it the steps a volunteer took my hand and helped me up. I walked slowly up the stairs as they were wet and slippery. Then I was greeted by loud cheers from the crowd which made me feel like they were all cheering for me. I must have had a huge smile on my face.
Swim Time: 1:24:53
I still couldn't believe I swam 2.4 miles. Just over a year ago I couldn't swim two laps in the pool without having to rest and stop. Anyhow, my eyes darted all over the place to find my family. Then I saw them and even bigger smile came across my face! I gave them a wave and let them know I was feeling good.
Then I ran into transition and was handed my bike special needs bag.
I continued to run to the changing tent, but stopped in the grass right before the tent to put on my shoes, eat a snickers, and have a volunteer sun screen me up. Once all that was done, I ran to my bike, which was luckily on the last rack by the bike out, and was one my way to 112 miles of fun.
I saw my family again at this point and another big smile came across my face. I loved seeing them at every point of the race.
I still couldn't believe one leg of my ironman was already complete. Everything was going so fast. My big worry was the swim, and I knew if I could finish the swim, then I would most likely be able to finish the race if nothing went wrong...