The Forth Annual Whidbey Adventure Swim

The forth annual Whidbey Adventure Swim (WAS) was held on the quiet morning of August 2, 2014. The low cloud cover seemed to soothe Saratoga Passage into a smooth gloss, with clear visibility across to Camano—perfect and unusually calm conditions for a swim in Puget Sound. By 8:45 am, the near-capacity event had all 37 swimmers registered, wet-suited up, and ready to hit the water. After swimming out to a deep-water start buoy, swimmers waited for the race signal to start. Per WAS custom, the starting horn was…unique. At the blast (well, really, a loud yell of “go!” from shore) 37 pairs of arms began slicing the waves, heading north toward the first turn buoy.

The yearly event is sponsored by the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation, a nonprofit organization started in December 2009, dedicated to making parks and aquatic activities accessible to all. All yearly race proceeds go to sponsor aquatics programs and activities on Whidbey.

This year the course was changed to one large rectangle, which followed the shore. The expansion of the course route allowed swimmers competing in the 1.2 mile race to complete one lap. Swimmers opting for the longer 2.4 mile swim circled the course twice. The change was well received by all participants, both short and long course.
“It was nice to do just one loop this year. Scenery was beautiful!” said Danielle Rideout, a four-year veteran of the race.

Top finishers included Chad Hagedorn from Tacoma, with a short-course time of 26.53, and Eric Dolven of Bothell, with a time of 55:08 for the long course. All levels of experienced, open-water swimmers participated, with many simply swimming for the fun and camaraderie of the sport. “It’s always good fun to see who comes out for the race,” said Jeff Jacobsen, WAS committee member. “We get swimmers from all over the country and Canada signing up once registration opens.”

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Some of our voluteers; kayakers and life guards on paddle boards.

As with any open-water swim event, safety was tantamount, and organization took time and talent. The 2014 race once again had many invaluable volunteers—from healthcare workers to lifeguards to sponsors and committee members—all of whom made the 2014 WAS fun, exciting, and safe for all participants.

Also new this year were event t-shirts, designed and individually colored by internationally acclaimed glass-artist and Whidbey resident John deWit. A limited number of mixed sizes remain available for sale; if interested, please contact us at info@swpaf.org.

When asked about the perfect swim conditions before the race, event coordinator Emily Weinheimer said, “We just got lucky. You never know when it comes to Puget Sound. It’s both beautiful and wild. And that’s what makes this race an adventure.”

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A happy winner of one of our door prizes.