It was a beautiful, cloudless morning on Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada when 64 swimmers lined up for the 2013 U.S. Masters Swimming National 10K Open Water Swimming Championships.

The start of the T-shaped course was on Boulder Beach where 68°F (20°C) tranquil water lapped gently along the shoreline. The USMS championships also featured a 5 km and 1 mile swim where swimmers from California to Florida participated.

But it was local Las Vegas performer Bill May who took off with Ricardo Valdivia and Lexie Kelly. Bill May, who performs for O, the Cirque de Soleil aquatic spectacular at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, won going away in 2 hours 8 minutes. Valdivia and Kelly came in 6 minutes back in a close finish.

I am a character and synchronized swimmer for O. I started in 2005, working 10 shows weekly from Wednesday through Sunday,” explains the 34-year-old former Santa Clara synchronized-turned-open water swimmer. “I remember getting up early for morning workout, but now my schedule is all turned around, getting to bed about 4:30 am and waking up like 11 am. But we have a nice workout group, and do a lot of anaerobic sets like no-breather 50s and other hypoxic work.

But I felt good in this 10K. It was wonderful.”

What a nice day. I saw fish and the water temperature was perfect,” said Kelly. “There were lots of little patches of warm water. It was easy to navigate because of the bright buoys and we all knew the T-shape of the course which also helped.”

O…another beautiful event hosted by Kara Miller and Swim Las Vegas. Massage Envy and red velvet cupcakes were among the little goodies that Miller arranged for the participants, but her course and the opportunity to race near Las Vegas were the best treats of the day.


Upper photo shows Bill May and Lexie Kelly. Second photo shows Wesley Johnson finishing. Lower photos shows athletes running out near feeding station.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association