For the last 38 years, Jack’s Diving Locker has set the Ironman World Championships swim course. This means that the days leading up to the race Diver Two boat, a few crew members, and several volunteers are busy going through lines, clips, anchors, counterweights, and buoys to make sure everything is in working order for the big day. On Friday before the Saturday race, the course gets officially set up! It can be a challenging task if there are wind and current, but nothing our team can’t handle!
The morning of the race the 20 or so JDL volunteers meet well before the sun rises. This group consists of many JDL staff as well as several loyal long-time customers that help us out each year! Half the group brings Diver Two around to the pier from the harbor and starts making last-minute adjustments to the course, moving buoys back into position that may have drifted overnight. The rest of the group walks from the shop to the pier to get ready for the start of the race!
In years past we have been in the water doing a starting line “sweep” after each group has started. The JDL swim crew is looking for dropped items such as goggles, swim caps, watches, etc. as well as being there for any distressed swimmers. This year Ironman decided to separate out starts by age groups and a few other categories. This increased the number of starts to 11 making it hard for us to do our normal sweeps. Instead, we helped line course making sure swimmers went the right direction, were available for lifeguarding help and provided cheering support! Diver Two took up their usual position as one of 2 boats used to create the halfway and turnaround point of the 2.4-mile course. We hope the menacing shark teeth painted on Diver Two provided inspiration to the athletes as they swam by!
Once the last swimmer was off the course and we received the official “all clear” we were able to start dismantling the course. Buoys were unclipped, weights pulled up, and the ‘great deflate’ got underway! As always, our crew and volunteers have a great time, often making games out of the cleanup process!
Continuing with JDL post-Ironman tradition, the team then went for a much-earned lunch and drinks! About this time the top elite athletes are making their way to the finish line! Hard to believe that in the same amount of time they swam 2.4 miles, biked to Hawi and back, and then ran a marathon from Kailua Pier to the Energy Lab and back! It makes us volunteers feel bad for saying we’re exhausted and tired!
With Ironman World Championships 2019 in the books we eagerly look forward to 2020!