Last Sunday I did my first swimming race after returning from my Europe trip, DWB TT, the 2nd race in OWSHK race series this year.

DWB TT stands for “Deep Water Bay Time Trial”, unlike normal races, time trial means that drafting is not allowed, and interval start is used such that it’s a race of individual effort. As an orienteer, I’m very familiar with the race format because most formal orienteering competitions are in interval start to minimise following. However, this was my first time doing a swimming competition in this format, and my favourite strategy (drafting, similar to following another competitor in orienteering) was explicitly banned.

There were 2 courses in the race, 3.0 km and 1.4 km, and I did the longer course. The start was self-seeded according to the 1.5 km time the competitor submitted, and my time of 31 minutes placed me very late in the start list as most of the competitors were much faster than me. Assuming that my 1.5 km time was 31 minutes with decay factor of 1.06 in the Pete Riegel formula, I expected that my time for 3 km should be about 64 – 65 minutes.

The weather that day was hot and rainy under the influence of a tropical cyclone near Taiwan, with 30°C air and 29°C water, and the sea was very calm. The course was a buoy course, starting at the pontoon of VRC, then to the permanent buoy near Hong Kong Country Club (1), the permanent buoy near Ocean Park pumping station (2), and a temporary buoy placed near 45 Island Road (3), and finish back at the start point forming an anti-clockwise loop. The organiser claimed that the distance of the legs were 0.7 – 0.7 – 1.1 – 0.5 km, i.e. 3 km in total.

Unlike doing a 1.5 km race in winter where I would go at a high intensity right at the beginning, as the weather was too hot this time I dare not go out too fast to avoid overheating and burning out, which I encountered many times during the OW group swims in the summer. Leg 1 was good for me, but leg 2 seemed a bit long and I slowed down a bit as I started to doubt if the buoy was really the right one, even I studied the course before. After the 2nd buoy at 1.4 km, I started to increase my effort to what I would do in a 1.5 km race as there was 1.6 km left, and I believe that I could sustain that to the end, and in the final 500 m I gave out all my remaining for the finish.

My final result was 1:06:22.6, ranked 40 out of 60 competitors which was slightly worse than my prediction by 2 minutes, and compared with my previous results, there was no improvement over the year at all. Perhaps I reserved too much at the beginning as my Garmin showed that my 3rd km was faster than my 1st and 2nd km by nearly a minute.

My next OW races will be The Polson 5, a 5 km race from Stanley Pier to Repulse Bay, and Clean Half, a 14 km race from Stanley, around Stanley Peninsula, to Deep Water Bay, and I will do it in team of 2 with Gary Lui (I’m not doing it solo as the water is too hot, about 28°C in October and I don’t have confidence to swim 14 km in such hot weather.). Rough sea is expected in both races, which I hope I can place better in the result list.

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