U.S swimmer Mark Warkentin gives an interesting insider’s perspective on the Olympic 10K over at 10K Swimmer. Sounds like it was a pretty physical race.
My experience, so far, has been mostly incidental physical contact. That is, everyone’s trying to get somewhere and in the first hundreds of meters until things settle out, there’s some jostling and inadvertent elbows and whatnot. However, I did have my first experience this year of a race in which someone clearly wanted to get somewhere and wanted me NOT to get there first. I was determined to hold my line, but I’m not the kind of person who is going to fight you for it with no holds barred. (This nice-girl reticence is what did me in during my short-lived foray into bicycle racing.) I suppose those are the moments when I’m willing to acknowledge that I’m a 46-year-old amateur distance swimmer, and if I finish five seconds later, it won’t matter a whit to the order of the universe nor to my long-term well being.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t try to get those 5 seconds if I can.