Sri Chinmoy Nautical Mile Swim in Moscow

On Monday last week I learned of yet another open water swim happening in Moscow. The Sri Chinmoy nautical mile swim took place today in a little offshoot of the Moscow canal. I was unsure what to think of it, having seen the canal in other parts of the city. (Hint: not clean!) But I shouldn’t have worried; the area was great and the water was fine.

Yes, that sign says “Swimming Prohibited”

The swim was held concurrent with a triathlon, the final of three events the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Club of Moscow holds, the other two events being a duathlon and aquathlon. The triathlon swim was 750 meters, or one small loop. Ours was two larger loops, as described below:

Two loops, keeping the red buoys on my left until coming back on the second loop, hit the yellow buoy with it on my right.

The water was great, reportedly 16C, but I think it was closer to 18C. Unlike the last swim I did a couple weeks ago, there were a few more skins swimmers.

The start was in waves, which was fine because we all had those sensor things on our ankles. The entry was grassy and silty, with about 10 meters you could run on, then you had to dive in and get to work. The water was a great temperature, and while the sun was out it was nice. Even when the sun went behind the clouds, the temperature was fine. No idea how those folks lasted in their neoprene prisons.

At the start I ran into a woman swimming on each side of me! Both were in wetsuits and I managed to draft off one of them for a bit, but she kept running into me when she would start breathing away from me, so I started to put on the gas. Not sure if that did anything; unsure if she did the same, but after a while she and I weren’t running into each other anymore. I also got passed by a wetsuit with an orange swim buoy, so I followed him/her for a loop and a half.

I stupidly opted to put my Garmin outside my cap this time, wrapped around the back of my goggles. It kept sliding to one side or the other. I adjusted a couple of times, but figured it would be alright. Boy was I wrong.

My goodness, I was all over the place! Lesson learned: put the Garmin under the cap from now on.

In and out pretty quick for me. Felt fast the entire time. Great swim.

Great organizers too! Didn’t even tell you about my registration. So, on Monday when I found the swim, I wrote on their FB page asking if it was too late to sign up. They said no and sent me the registration page URL. No issues with paying this time because everyone had to pay at the event. I signed up, and even put MSF as my club.

So I showed up in time to get my timing chip and swim cap. When I got to the table they asked my name. “Michael Tyson” I proudly responded. All of a sudden, a lovely young lady put her hand to her mouth and started apologizing. Seems as she was going through the list yesterday, she saw the name and thought someone was playing a joke on them, so she tried calling me. I didn’t hear the call, so she assumed someone was joking, so she removed me from the registration list. Uh-oh!

Thankfully, there were still plenty of spots and caps, so she signed me back up and of course only charged me the cost for those who registered prior to the day-of. She was so sweet. She saw me later going toward porta-potties that were closed and redirected me, apologizing again for de-registering me last night. After the swim, the wife and I went to the refreshments.

Yep! On the left is borscht, while on the right they had a warm lemon/ginger drink, as well as coffee and tea! So very Russian. While I was waiting in line, my wife decided to not get any because she figured it was for the competitors. Our lovely new friend (above in orange sweatshirt) came over to my wife, insisting she get some borscht. “No, the food and drink is for everyone!” She was so nice. And boy was that borscht good (with sour cream of course).

We stayed and watched the triathletes come in and get their finishing medals and a small matroshka made specially for the event. When we were done eating and drinking and about to leave, another one of the organizers, who was at the table when I “registered” in the morning, came over and offered me one of the matroshkas. “We have plenty.” Again, so very sweet. I will definitely do this race again next year.

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