From 50-yard sprints in every stroke to the mile-long freestyle, Todd Lantry has tested himself against the gamut of competitive events in 25 years of swimming.
"I was kind of a utility swimmer," says Lantry, 34, of his childhood days in age-group swimming. "They just make you do everything."
Lantry jumped into Rogue Valley Masters after collegiate swimming but was loathe to leave the pool for untested waters at Emigrant Lake. Once he warmed to plying the cold depths at sunrise, Lantry set a new course in his otherwise steadfast sport.
"It's a very different animal from being in the pool," says Lantry, now RVM president. "The people who do open-water swimming are always jonesing for it."
Open-water withdrawal has been more painful this year, with cool early-summer weather that kept most local lake temperatures below 70 degrees throughout June. Donning wet suits, RVM members finally took to Emigrant in mid-June, some in preparation for the summer swim season's main event, Open-Water Weekend at Applegate Lake.
"It's one of the premier kind of open-water venues in Oregon," says Nate Sanford, RVM's race director. "People come from Bend and Portland and all over."
This year's 24th annual event packed the state-championship one-mile swim, a five-kilometer race and a new 10-kilometer race into two days — July 17 and 18. It's been about a decade since any Oregon Masters group hosted a 10K, initiated at the suggestion of the Central Oregon club whose Cascade Lakes Swim Series, scheduled for the last weekend of July at Elk Lake, isn't as hospitable to such long distances, says Lantry.