Open Swim Stars – combined (5km on Saturday + 2km on Sunday) – June 17/18 2017
Race reporter François-Xavier
Even if it was my very first time in open water, I choose this challenge because it is an opportunity to swim in Paris which is not given every day.
Btw, It is forbidden to swim in the Seine, so this is the reason why it takes place on the Canal de L’Ourq from Pantin to the Bassin de la Villette.
I also wanted to cover a distance of 5km, which I have never done before. I decided to participate in the combo event of 5km on Saturday night followed by an addition 2km on Sunday morning. So it was an opportunity to enjoy a great challenge.
I found the 5km race rather hard, in terms of space, sighting and lack of distance markers. My watch ran out of batteries early on so until km 4 – where we entered into Bassin de la Villette, I had no idea about my progression during the race. This made it difficult to manage my energy.
We were 11 Expatries members to take part to the 5km race, and the fun atmosphere was beneficial during the preparation time.
The swim involved a U-shape at the beginning (about 1km total), swimming off to the right, around a buoy and then back in a straight line. Once in the bassin, we continued pas the finish line for yet another 1km U-turn around buoys to arrive at the finish line. The departure was quite empty except for the participants and a few supporters. The finish line was much more lively with supporters sitting along the edge of the quai.
Swimming 5km in a row has nothing to do with a training of 5 km in a pool, but I felt at ease with the quality of my swim. I started fast at the beginning to be in the race, and then was on cruise mode.
All the team members met up after the race for a team picture and then a picnic.
The next morning I came to swim in the 2km portion. I thought I would be a part of the regular 2km race however as that race was quite full, those of us who were doing the combo swam in the departure group of 2km + palmes. This made it a bit difficult to swim in the small space. I received quite a few palmes kicks in my face, but I made it through.
I think the organization of the event was okay but can hopefully improve over the years since it is only the 3rd time the event has been organized.
In any case, I do recommend doing one of the races for next year. We’ll see how it goes at the Paris Garmin Tri in two weeks!