I can now say I swam across the Ohio River, and it wasn't that bad. In fact, it was downright bathtub-comfortable.
I signed up for the second annual Buckhead Border Challenge Triathlon because, while I swam in the river several times for Ironman and TriAmerica triathlons, I've never gone straight across it. The Buckhead tri starts at Tumbleweed on the Kentucky side, angles across the river with the current, takes a hard left at the Big Four bridge, and then shoots down the Indiana side to the transition area at Buckhead.
I must admit I was nervous when a text went out at 11pm the night before telling us the recent heavy rains had elevated the bacteria levels "slightly to moderately", and we would be given the option of opting out of the swim if we desired. Years ago I read about a rule on the river that prohibits swimming for 24 hours after more than an inch of rain, and we got 1.13 inches this time. But nobody said anything. And it appeared few athletes opted out of the swim portion of the race.
I tried not to ingest much water, but you know how that goes. I took in gallons of it over the course of the mile swim. But I felt fine. Still feel fine. I've had swims in that river before where I could taste barge fuel for two weeks after the race. And I've been able to see the bottom in that river before too.
In short, the race was outstanding. The 25 mile bike leg out to Utica and back was flat and fast. The 10k run on the path along the river out past the Falls of the Ohio was scenic and peaceful at a time when your legs are crying.
Two enthusiastic thumbs up for the Buckhead Border Challenge. Now excuse me because I have to go to the bathroom.