Sunday, March 03, 2019

MOWS No. 1 at Bagan Pinang, P.D. Malaysia (2km)

It was a glorious sunny day for 500 swimmers at the first Malaysian swim event for 2019. The tide was just right, not much wind , sea was calm, sky was blue, so conditions for swimming were perfect. The downside was, it became hot very quickly and with the late results, many families didn't stay until the very end.
But, make no bones about it, this was a good day for 500 open water swimmers and the sport of Malaysian Open Water Swimming.
Behind the scenes
My wife and I helped out again (for free) and gave away banana cakes (160 pieces this year) just like last year. Tip was working non stop from 6.30 a.m. (helping with Registration etc), right until the very end (prize giving). I only did the MC duties for the prize giving and picked up the rubbish along the beach, after the event. There were actually eighty people helping with the event. Certainly is not easy to organize a safe swim event.
Imagine that everything has to move like clockwork on Race Day, without a full dress rehearsal.  Compounded by this year, it was the highest number of participants ever and Registration was only done on Sunday unlike last year when it started on Saturday. Thus the need for a organising team that has worked many times together. We do have an experienced organizing team actually that has been together for a few years now.
A few key regulars were not around but very strong officials from Penang, like KL Tan (Race Director Penang Cross Channel Swim) and Chris Wee (a superb photographer) etc came down to help us.
Last year, the problem was the marker buoys disappearing due to the strong tides and the results only being available quite late. We corrected the buoy problem very well but the late results still persisted. In fact, accurate results were only available a few days after the event.
We apologise to everyone for our short comings.
Rescued by our gallant Firemen
I had inadvertently locked my car keys in the car's boot just before the swim start. I had my swim gear on but the courted banana cakes that my wife made and my change of clothes were locked in the car.
I was quite stressed and feeling down. What on earth was I going to do? I approached some Firemen on duty not really hoping for anything. But they listened so attentively to my predicament and quickly came up with plans on how to unlock my car. They had some wires, inspected my car and immediately got to work by sliding the wire through the side window.
It didn't quite work and they asked for a piece of string. I managed to give them a piece of string from my swim bag and left them to it as I had my MC duties to do.
I did my MC duties in my swim gear. A little later the Firemen came with my car keys and wallet duly retrieved. Imagine my relief. I wanted to give them a reward but they refused. So I just gave them a hug. What gallant Firemen we have. I will remember this for the rest of my life.
My heroes for life
My swim
We had arrived early and I was able to put in a good comprehensive warm up.
The start was delayed a little bit by swimmers not all wanting to go behind the start line. I started way behind everyone where the start line was supposed to be. On 18 December 2016, I started at the front, went fast and got a heart attack for my troubles.
So since that, it's always a slow start for me. For the first 500 meters, the course was full of swimmers. I didn't go for the shortest straight line, instead I just tried to stay away from everyone.
After 500m, the course was sparse of swimmers and it was quite easy going from buoy to buoy.  If swimmers felt that the course was tough, well I got news for you, it doesn't get any easier than this in Open Water Swimming.
I elected to use simple jammers (FINA recognized) bought from Decathlon. I have got tired putting on and then off my Arena competition swim suit. If you look at the photographs, all the top ten Male swimmers, only wore bottom jammers or basic swim trunks.
I finished the 2km quite comfortably. But have since got a bad flu perhaps from being out in the sun too long doing MC and garbage collection duties.
My Result
39th overall in 39 mins 44 secs. I had just moved up to the 60+ age group and for the first time in my life, I won my age group. So finally I have won something.

Finally winning something
Top Ten Swimmers Overall
Unless I am mistaken, these are the photos of the Top Ten swimmers:
1st Kevin Yeap Malaysia's SEA Games Gold Medalist 2017
2nd Jose Luis Larossa
3rd Teoh Kai Xiang

4th Dirk Cox
5th Kelvin Ng

6th Adam Adnan

8th Amos Tan
9th Overall and Champion Female. Nur Iman Nabilah Bt Mohamad Noor Azlan

10th Koo Zi Yi

11th Nur Adli Safwan

12th Araki Tomohiro
13th Overall and Second Female - Jessie Wong

39th Overall - Me
Conclusion - Please Support Malaysian Open Water Swimming
 Guys, our beloved sport is young. There will be hiccups now and then. However lets participate and give encouragement to the Organiser.
Thank you to the 500 swimmers and supporters, 80 helpers and everyone involved. Thank you, Have a nice day.

3 March 2019

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