For the past 7 years, just outside of San Francisco, there is a fantastic open-water race called the Tiburon Mile. The race always attracts some of the greatest swimmers of all time, and this year was no exception.
We were lucky enough to be able to visit the race this year, and take in all the festivities. The Tiburon Mile is the brainchild of former US National Team member Bob Placak, and is mainly focused on raising money for the Special Olympics. This year the race generated an amazing $250,000.
With standouts such as Brooke Bennett, Ryk Neethling, Erica Rose, and Robert Margalis, as well as past, present, and future swimming greats, there is certainly no lack of talent. Surrounding this talent are another 600 to 700 swimmers who brave the cool morning air, and even colder bay water, to sprint across the one-mile stretch.
If you’ve never been to a race like this, I encourage you to participate or to just WATCH! While participating seems to be the logical choice, the finish proved to be SO exciting that, of course, only a couple swimmers were able to see it — or, should I say, experience it. Our (my) personal favorite swimmer, Erik Vendt, was able to witness this finish a bit TOO closely. Erik finished third, but almost surged past the 1st- and 2nd-place swimmers as they wrestled for the $10,000 winner’s prize.
While it was fun to watch all the flailing arms, popped heads, and white water at the start, the REAL show was the finish. As the two lead swimmers churned stroke for stroke to the finish, you could see their intensity and desire to win. When they hit the slippery exit, they fell over each other, grabbing and struggling to get their electronic chip over that line first. While for a "pool swimmer" witnessing this, I thought it was a bit unfair, but Erica Rose made it VERY clear… until there are rules that state something different, this is way it is. It’s somewhat accepted, and although NOT encouraged, something you should be aware of if there’s money on the line. All in all, in watching the video over and over, I can say that I don’t think any of the pushing or shoving at the end was on purpose. It was simply two athletes doing everything possible to finish first.
In the end, the Tiburon Mile is an exciting event, fun for swimmers and spectators alike. It supports a good cause AND it’s inspiring. I especially admired the 15 members of the Israel Special Olympics Team who participating in the swim.
Please enjoy the following photo essay, and then visit the RCP Tiburon Mile web page to get involved NEXT year. 🙂
Israel Special Olympics Team on the boat that will take them across the bay.
One of the two large ferries that transported 700 swimmers to the starting point.
Swimmers lined up, and pointing the way home.
Getting ready. The water looks nice, but it was CHILLY!
The "elite" class very leisurely walks into the water.
The "red" wave heads off. Various color caps were the elites, each with a special color, RED was non-wetsuit, and GREEN was those with wet-suits. (No caps, fully clothed, were people like ME)
Very pretty view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Heading to the finish.
Quickly standing to begin the run in.
Oops… not so quick. If ya gotta land SOMEWHERE… why not on the guy who’s ahead.
Across the finish, 2nd place being knocked over again, and 3rd, Erik Vendt in a very strong swim as well.