I (Katie) missed out on the Lake Annecy swim last year (see here) but after all the great things I had heard about it from Manda and Brian I was looking forward to the 2018 edition.
The event consists of multi distance races from 1.5k up to 10km and it is held on the French public Holiday on the 15th August. Now I took Spanish and Latin GCSE’s and was appalling at both of them so the first event hurdle is entering via the French website. With the aid of google translate and a bit of guessing I had managed to enter. After entering I kept on receiving lots of emails in French which I were hoping were saying ‘congratulations on your entry’ rather than ‘you have ballsed this up’!
We were an expanded party in 2018 with me, Adrian and David also joining 2017 veterans Manda and Brian for the swim. We had all opted for the 5km event as it seems a shame to go all the way to France without getting a decent swim in but the 10km swim is reserved for elite swimmers. It was won in c.2 hours 5 mins so they were serious when they meant elite.
On Tuesday we had a lovely warm up swim (read about it in Manda’s blog here) and then headed into Annecy to register (I was on the list… phew!) and carbo load. Well ice cream isn’t strictly carbo loading but we were on holiday!
The swim was a point to point course starting in Veyrier du Lac ending up in ‘downtown’ Annecy. The swim was due to start at 9.30am and just after then we all waded into the water. For some reason (we are not quite sure what due to our lack of French!) we were hanging around in the water for a while. The swim finally starting at about 9.50am. I had persuaded Manda to swim with me and we decided to start at the back (a) because everyone was looking pretty professional (you have to be a member of a swim club to enter the 5km) and (b) the first turning buoy was only about 100m into the swim and we didn’t want to get caught up with 100s of other people. This was a good call, as even with starting at the back, my goggles were knocked off within the first minute and I had stop and drain the water.
The swim is essentially L shaped. You go out to the first buoy, turn, swim along to the North East corner of the lake and then turn and swim across to Annecy. Manda had assured me sighting was easy as there were two massive orange buoys on boats and once you turn then you just sight to the castle. I was therefore blasé until I was in the water when I couldn’t see any of the sighting points and I couldn’t work out which building was the castle – there is no learning curve.
We set out at a steady place which felt relatively comfortable until the final 1km when I suddenly felt really tired and was struggling to keep up with Manda. I slipped behind but managed to stay within about 20 – 30m of her until the end. The end of the swim is in the water with a slap board as the timing point. I had the timing chip around my ankle as it was massive and for someone who is 5 foot 9 I have a really tiny wrist so cue some comedy moments trying to get it off my ankle at the end of the swim.
We finished the 5k in 1 hour 28 mins 13 sec (Manda) and 1 hour 28 mins 21 secs (me) with Manda coming 116 and me coming 118. As Manda said we need to hunt down the person who came 117 and tell them no one comes between us!!
The swim was really fun and in such a gorgeous setting I kept on having to remind my self to pause and take in the view. See you all there next year!