2018 Swim Around Lido Key
There will be more than 160 competitors from more than 25 states. Some will swim solo, while others will form 2- or 3-person relay teams.
By Thomas Becnel
Last year, during the Swim Around Lido Key, Melissa Varlas started to run out of energy.
A 7-mile race tends to do that.
She still won her age group, passing a lot of men along the way, but she wanted to finish stronger.
“I didn’t eat enough — that’s the only thing I didn’t do right,” says Varlas, a 45-year-old test coordinator at Brookside Middle School in Sarasota. “I really felt it that last mile and a half.”
This year, she plans to drink more water every half-hour and eat more energy gels every hour. Depending on the conditions, she could beat her time of 2 hours and 44 minutes.
The Swim Around Lido Key is timed for favorable tides. On Saturday, the race won’t start until 10 a.m. This will be a change for members of the Sarasota Sharks Masters Swim Team, who usually train at 5:30 a.m.
Varlas shrugs off the late start. She’s hoping for warmer water. That’s more important to her.
Wait. Hold everything. She’s a swimmer from Pittsburgh who’s worried about water temperature in Sarasota?
“I know, I know,” Varlas says, laughing. “I don’t like the cold water.”
Swim Without Limits
The Lido Key event is sponsored by Swim Without Limits, a Sarasota group led by David Miner and Steve Butler.
This is the fourth year of the race. There will be more than 160 competitors from more than 25 states. Some will swim solo, while others will form 2- or 3-person relay teams.
Last summer, a Sarasota group of swimmers traveled to California for a 10-mile relay swim across Lake Tahoe. Varlas remembers beautiful scenery, but serious cold.
For the balmy Swim Around Lido Key, she will wear a knee-length tech suit. Like all swimmers, she will be accompanied by a kayaker.
A few years ago, Varlas began competing in triathlons. She won a lot of races, but overtrained and wound up getting injured.
Now she’s back to swimming and the occasional open-water race.
“It’s something different,” she says. “I just try to stay smooth. I think about a million things, or a song will get stuck in my head.”
Copyright © 2018 HeraldTribune.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.