Open Swim Stars 2016

Open Swim Stars Paris à la Nage – 5kms – 2 July 2016
 try it
by Daniel, Aurélie and Virgile
Daniel – Last Saturday 5 pioneers – Cesar, Aurélie, Sudeep, Virgile and I – participated in the first ever 5km distance in the second edition of Paris à la Nage open water swim : “Open Swim Stars” The course was in the Canals de l’Ourcq and Saint Martin, which are connected, in North-central Paris.  Most swimmers wore wet suits though some were seen without. The fastest swimmer completed the distance in 57 minutes. There were 182 finishers in all. Yours truly finished 36 out of 38 in the 50 to 59 age group with a time of 1’48”. I had enough energy at the end to sing “Hey I Just Met You” at the end. Thanks Sylvain for the good training!
It was a huge pleasure to do this with such good-hearted, fun ExpaTRIés. Cesar organised this on Meetup and he led us loyally on D-Day with his usual gentle subtlety. One of the moments that most sticks out in my memory was when a handicapped participant asked Cesar to put on his bracelet chip for him and Cesar did it without the slightest hint that anything was different about this person. Aurelie was impressed that Laure Manadou was there. Too bad we weren’t able to get a photo of the two champions side by side. We didn’t have a camera and Sudeep, thanks to his social exuberance got a professional photographer that he knows (Gui Fav) to take a photo of us. Virgile animated our time together by driving the conversation. I am still laughing that I had to tell him that our wave had started. I still  don’t know what he was doing climbing up on the temporary bridge that spanned the Canal behind the starting line. Ha ha !
Aurélie – This open water swim race is one experience most of us have not done yet, as well as swimming in the Parisian canals! We triathlete lovers, could consider it as an easy race since it’s only 1 out of the 3 disciplines we usually complete in a competition. But I discovered that it is in fact a technical sport :
– You must be ready to “fight” even if it’s not on purpose. My forehead and right hands will keep memories of these kind of speed-dating  sessions.
– You must use all your skills forcefully repeated during Sylvain’s swim sessions : water polo swim, quick water-wings, pull buoy, u-turn and pace management.
All together tt was a great experience, wrapped up in 1’26”, that I wish to repeat next year for the Defi of Monte-Cristo if the weather is kind with us for once!!
Virgile – Before the race I caught up with 4 other expats, including superstar swimmers such as the Peruvian dolphin Cesar, our own superwoman Aurélie and our new magazine model Sudeep, along with my back-of-the-peloton veteran teammate Daniel. It is he that actually told me a few seconds after we jumped into the water that the race had actually started, as I was switching on my watch completely oblivious that everything that was happening around me.
That delayed start was a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to swim those 5K in near constant tranquility, with good swimmers further ahead, mostly avoiding hits along the way. Quite a contrast compared to triathlon swims (especially the world-war-2-like Lac des Sapins one). The other contrast is that I could use my legs for once, which really helped me get in a good, relaxed rhythm early on, that lasted for a solid 3km, before my calves started cramping up (Friday evening beers did not help). That messed up the last part of the swim, finished in 1’37”, but it did not change the fact that it was a really pleasant and fun experience overall.
I was a bit scared of the distance initially, but it ended up being really “easily” doable, and with no specific training other than a weekly or so swim: I can only encourage more of our members to try it out next year!