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Cap2K Open Water Swim wrapup

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 6, 2014

I made my annual dash through Lady Bird Lake last Saturday, at the Howdy Honda Cap2K Open Water Swim.

I’ve mentioned before how I love chugging through the crisp, cool waters of the Colorado River, dodging sea monsters on my way from Red Bud Isle to the Texas Rowing Center next to Austin High School.

I do the race almost every year; it’s a good way to measure my swimming fitness. This year I felt great! No white caps, no snakes, no dive-bombing blue herons - just a mile and a third of fresh, sun-spackled water, lots of nice people and some pretty terrific scenery.

This year stood out for another reason, too. My husband Chris raced. In March he joined the swim team I train with, and he’s stuck with it. (He’s getting buff!) Saturday’s race marked his first athletic competition in a couple of decades, and I got to watch him finish. That was awesome.

Here are other highlights of the 2014 race:

  • The bagpiper who led a group of almost 200 swimmers to the end of Red Bud Isle, where they jumped in the water.
  • Jumping off the dock at Red Bud Island and realizing that 70-degree water really isn’t that cold.
  • A turtle, bobbing just in front of the starting line in the moments before we started. (He dove safely out of sight when the horn went off.)
  • Swimming in the same race as open water swimming super star Michelle Macy, one of only four members of the Oceans Seven. (To join that elite club, you have to swim the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland; the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand; the Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii; the English Channel between England and France; the Catalina Channel between Catalina Island and the Southern California mainland; the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan; and the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa.) She lives in Oregon, but came to Austin to log some early season open water swim training.
  • Watching my high school swim coach, Dotson Smith, now 77, finish the race.
  • Hearing the roar of spectators lining the pedestrian bridge beneath MoPac (Loop 1 Boulevard) as I swam past.
  • Enjoying a picnic lunch at Eilers Park after the race.
  • Winning my age group in a time of 31 minutes 53 seconds!

Swimmers were encouraged to raise money for Us TOO International, to raise support, education, awareness and advocacy in the fight against prostate cancer. Donations are still being accepted at