I successfully "defended" my state Masters 60-64 championship in the 5000 meter open water swim in Tempe on May 5, despite this year having a second swimmer show up in my age group. My time was 1:44:12, which was 9 minutes faster than last year. I may have done a better job of swimming straight between the buoys, or more likely, because we were using the same course as USA Swimming had set up for the USA Swimming open water national championships (both senior and junior) at the same venue Friday and Sunday, the course was accurate (unlike Arizona Open Water's unfortunate habit of making the courses 20% longer than billed). So there were lots of officious USA Swimming officials in white polo shirts enforcing all sorts of rules (clip your nails, no watches or jewelry, miss the sign-in time cutoff and you can't swim) but at least when they said each loop was 1666 meters, it actually was 1666 meters.
My colleague in the 60-64 men's category was Dan Nutz from Gilbert, an artist who swam in junior college, a good swimmer and an even better raconteur. But he ages up next year or the year after, so I may be able to keep my streak going.
We were 2 of the last 3 swimmers to finish; the organizers lowered the cut-off time from 2:30 to 2:00 the day before because of the heat (it was over 100 degrees at the finish); they pulled everybody behind us out of the lake before they could finish. All in all, a very satisfactory day.