The day dawned bright with clear skies for the Triton river ONE last Sunday in New Braunfels TX. But the buzz around the event seemed to suggest that this may have also been the dawn of a completely new genre of aquatic sport. The sun was welcomed and appreciated after a brief cold front made the Saturday afternoon practice sessions a bit on the chilly side. Many athletes mentioned how it was actually warmer to be in the water than on shore Saturday, thanks to the spring fed water of the Comal which maintains at a steady 72 degrees year round. However, Sunday brought warmer temperatures and plenty of sun, staging a perfect setting for the kickoff to the Triton Series open water season.
Gregg Cross, race director, led the morning pre-race meeting, which sounded a bit different than your average pre-race jargon. For this was not your average open water course. Not only would this event be kicking off the event season and marking the first Open Water Planet event run down a river. But this event would also introduce the challenge of overcoming physical obstacles along the course, including a tube chute and multiple areas where sliding down rocks and crashing through rapids were required. It quickly became evident that this was not your average race course.
“This is where the future of open water is headed” Gregg Cross stated. “It’s not just about being a good swimmer anymore. It’s about educating yourself as both an open water swimmer and preparing yourself to get through anything that mother nature might throw at you along the way. And THAT’S what open water is truly all about; it’s expecting the unexpected, looking for ways to safely get through situations rather than avoiding them.”
The Comal River proved to be the perfect spot to test this theory, as the spectators and safety team watched swimmers gracefully and confidently tackle the obstacles as they raced down the river course. These tough athletes didn’t think twice about flying down the tube chute and letting the rapids take them down the river, or scraping their rear ends as they flew over rocks through the second falls area. Standing at the finish line area, the comments overheard as athletes made their way up the stairs included comments on how fast the current allowed them to swim and how beautiful the course was. “That was the most beautiful course I have ever swam” stated a very excited swimmer Bobby Dubois after exiting the course.
“We are so lucky to have such an amazing group of athletes that make up the OWP family” said Event Director Casey Taker. “We actually just stumbled across this location a few months ago and pulled the trigger on the event immediately after seeing it. Part of our mission as a company is to create opportunities for our OWP family to swim in some of the most beautiful places in the world and to expand open water swimming beyond just the typical long, straight swims. And the crystal clear waters and the natural obstacles here definitely fall into that category.”
Safety was a huge focus in this first of its kind event, which led to OWP limiting the number of entries in this first year. Only 50 spots were made available to enter the event, creating a boutique atmosphere for athletes. Many of the swimmers had also competed in the Inaugural South Padre Island Open Water Festival last Nov, adding to the family reunion vibe that seemed to encompass the whole weekend. The pre-race meeting on Saturday included tubing down the course as a group to allow participants to get a feel for the course and the obstacles they would encounter. This also allowed family members to join in the fun, and get a chance to experience the course for themselves.
All in all this race did seem be the start of something new; perhaps the start of a new aquatic sport. There was a lot of excitement and plenty of buzz. Could this be the future of obstacle course racing? Could this be the future of Open Water Swimming? It certainly seemed like it behind the scenes at the Triton River One.
Life is a series of uncertainty, those who are adventurous at heart thrive on this fact. Those with a truly open mind view the obstacles that are throw their way, simply as a chance to take their lives to the next level. Breaking preconceived barriers and pushing oneself just a little further each time, are among this type’s core trademarks. The knowledge that the world offers infinite opportunities to find and experience new places and things, this is the thinking of those who know the feeling of true freedom.
These are our kind of people………
Open Water Planet was created to provide the open water sports community a place to call their own. For though we are spread all over the world, we are alike in so many ways. We work hard, we play hard, we are probably having way more fun than 90% of the world. There is always an excuse to travel and the thrills are all the reward we need. Our pools have no walls and the lanes are ever changing. There are no limits to what we can accomplish, as a single person, as a community, as a planet.
OWP spreads it’s core message of never fearing the unknown through the company’s series of open water events, clinics, travel opportunities, community boards, training programs and gear. All specifically geared to help those passionate about the water attain their goals and get where they want to go.
Open Water Swimming is courtesy of Open Water Planet, a SwimSwam planet.