Friday, September 25, 2009

Bigger Shoulders In Chicago

Chris Sheean, race director of the Big Shoulders 5K that doubled as the US Masters Swimming national 5K championships, reported from Lake Michigan:

The 19th year of Big Shoulders was bigger and better than ever with 805 registered swimmers, and 715 completing one of the two distances.

After weeks of concern about below-normal water temperatures by many swimmers, Lake Michigan warmed up on cue, and was a balmy 73˚F (22.7˚C) on race morning. The air and water were calm with some low clouds drifting over the skyline as the sun rose, creating a majestic and beautiful setting (see below).

The competition was stiff this year, with a number of notable swims, including Erica Rose once again winning in 1:00:48, slipping past Kelly Perry (1:01:16) and Megan Ryther (1:01:23).

On the men's side, local hero Andy Seibt swam the time of his life, coming in at an astounding 56:21, beating out Alexander Tyler (57:53) and Adam Dawkins (58:46). Many thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers, and to all those who came out to compete and support Big Shoulders. Next year's race is set for Sept. 11, 2009.

Of course, a big decision will come on October 2nd when the Olympic bid cities of Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo learn what city receives the nod to host the 2016 Olympics. The planned Olympic 10K Marathon Swim for the 2016 Chicago Olympic bid is very close to the Big Shoulders 5K.

National Championship 5K Results:

1. Andy Seibt, 56:21
2. Alexander Tyler, 57:53
3. Adam Dawkins, 58:46
4. Tony Mattar, 59:01
5. Josh Kercheval, 59:32
6. Kevin Coates, 1:00:02
7. John Frutiger, 1:00:12
8. Will Simmons, 1:00:25
9. Sean Mathews, 1:00:46
10. Kirk Nelson, 1:00:56

1. Erica Rose, 1:00:48
2. Kelly Perry, 1:01:16
3. Megan Ryther, 1:01:23
4. Eney Jones, 1:02:10
5. Karen Schimdt, 1:03:13
6. Clare Brophy, 1:04:25
7. Denise Brown, 1:05:13
8. Polly Surhoff, 1:05:16
9. Katherine Braun, 1:05:44
10. Joy Stover, 1:05:54


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful location for a swim! ...congrats to Erica Rose on yet another great swim!

Anonymous said...

Nice press release but doesn't note that this years Big Shoulders was very controversial with many comments from participants that it was poorly organized and officiated on discussion board openwater section.

Steven Munatones said...

We have not read the USMS discussion boards, but we understand from emails sent to this blog that many people were upset that a 51-year-old man apparently swam faster than he is capable, probably cutting the course short and skewing the true results.

We know first-hand how difficult and thankless being a race director is from organizing races in 3 states, especially since a large majority of race directors and organizers are volunteers with budgets that are stretched thin, so we are generally forgiving of issues on a one-time basis with the exception of safety.

Safety, from what we understand, was not an issue; however, we were not present at the event. Is our information correct on that point - or did the poor organization lead to unacceptable safety issues?

Also, was the organization different this year vs. previous years? We did not hear of such problems in the past, although we admit that our information comes primarily from the race organizers and elite athletes.

We are hopeful that this year's discussions among masters will lead to constructive suggestions to benefit the race organizers in the future and, perhaps, an increase in the number of people who volunteer to help plan and host this race - and others.

Perhaps you wish to write an article for this blog that summarizes the situation, the problems and possible remedies?
We would be happy to post an alternative position of this event.

Anonymous said...

I did the event for the first time this year, finished in about 1:20, and had a great experience. I'm far from an elite swimmer, so the concerns mentioned were not apparent to me. In my opinion, safety was not compromised at all and was not an issue, I didn't see any problems with organization but I would not be able to speak to the officiating end of things. I did do a bit of a double take to see in the results that the winner was a 51-year-old with a 56:something 5k.

I had just barely enough time to register and line up to swim, with no time for a warmup, but I think that was due more to my lack of planning than any registration issues. Again, this was my first year at the event so I can't compare it to previous years. It is indeed a great location and a legendary event; I'm sorry to hear there were concerns about it this year.

(just to clarify, this is a different anonymous than the 2 above - my name is Holly from PA)