Race review: Daiquiri Deck Tropical Splash Open Water 5K Swim

It’s rare that a race that sounds too good to be true lives up to its expectations.The Daiquiri Deck Tropical Splash Open Water 5K Swim in Siesta Key, Fla., on Oct. 2 was one of those rare, wonderful races.

I swam the 5K (there are also 1K and 2.5K options), and finished in 1:31:58.6, or 29:40-minute mile pace—a good time for me, and good enough to win my age group. Here’s why I loved the swim, and why I’ll be back for it next year:

Can you imagine a prettier place for an open-water swim?

Natural beauty. Dr. Beach, a Florida professor who releases an annual ranking of the country’s beaches, ranks Siesta Key as the No. 2 beach in the country, touting its fine white sand, wide, pretty beach and clear, clean water. If there’s a better way to nix pre-race nerves than wiggling your toes in powdered-sugar sand, I don’t know it. Plus, it’s lots easier to drag your support crew out of bed at 4:30 a.m. when you know they get to hang out on that beach while they watch you.

Me and my loyal, generous “support crew,” otherwise known as Steve and my parents.

A great post-race spread. The race doesn’t actually finish at the title sponsor, the Daiquiri Deck. But offerings at the finish festival at a lovely, shaded beachside pavilion made up for it. Options include rice and bean burritos from Clayton’s Grill and wraps from The Broken Egg, both local eateries. A volunteer also brought homemade bread, which she told us had “all sorts of good whole grains” as she sliced it and dished it up. I can confirm it was all sorts of good, and love that this is the kind of hometown race where people bring homemade bread.

The super-cool post-race party.

Great organization. The event, which is sanctioned by U.S. Masters Swimming and put on by the Sarasota YMCA Sharks Masters, was amazingly well-organized, from the quick, easy registration and check-in to the many volunteer kayakers on the course.

The race was well-organized and fun from the start …

… to the finish.

My only complaints:

Sea lice. I spent the first quarter of the swim thinking that I’d been stung by a jellyfish (these were present on race day, too), and that the sting had sent me into anaphylactic shock, as the horrible itchy-ouchie sensation had spread to my whole body. Other swimmers informed me I was among many participants to have a bathing suit full of sea lice. I don’t know what these are, or how to prevent them, but I can confirm they’re not cool. Nothing race organizers could have done about this, and not a reason to not do the race—just something worth mentioning.

A looong awards ceremony, which organizers promise will be shorter next year.

Me posing geekily with my age-group award.

Overall results can be found here, and age-group results here.

Have you done this swim? What did you think? Let me know by posting a comment below.


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4 responses to “Race review: Daiquiri Deck Tropical Splash Open Water 5K Swim

  1. Sea lice! Yikes! Sounds somewhat terrifying.

    Congrats on the fine swim and your age group win!

  2. sea lice. i have a super bad case of the shivers right now. eeeeeew.

    congrats on an amazing race!

  3. Courtney

    so i just had to read more about sea lice. i wasn’t really happy with the wiki article (too sciency… i wasn’t looking for their life cycle, etc)… but i found this one


    in any case, doesn’t sound pleasant.

  4. Andy

    Nice post, great pics. I swam the 5k as well, and after the 1+ hour of award presentations before the 5k ones, recall you going up to get your certificate — I got one, too, which I was/am *very* happy about!

    Yes, the weather, water, beach, and event organizers and organization were just great, though looking for the buoys on the long straightaway furthest from shore (heading ESE, or so?) was challenging due to the Sun reflecting off the water. But that just comes along with OW events, I suppose.

    I, too, noticed something in the water that sort of irritated my skin at times — almost like little bites or fiberglass; others at the pavilion showers mentioned the same thing. And I learned that in an ocean/salt water swim of this length I need to put some sort of salve/jelly/oil under my arms — they were starting to get darn raw after the 3500 mark or so.

    Congrats on your win, of course!

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