Couple takes to the open waters |

Couple takes to the open waters

Charles Whisnand column

For Rob Bastien and Cindi Burrows, there’s nothing more romantic than an open water swim.

So it figures that the couple celebrated its seventh wedding anniversary by competing in the 33rd annual Waikiki Roughwater Swim event in Hawaii on Labor Day weekend. It’s not a bad excuse to travel to Hawaii.

“It kind of gives us an incentive to go over,” said Bastien about competing in the open water swim event and celebrating their anniversary at the same time.

Bastien and Burrows have competed in several Waikiki open water events. After competing in the event in 1995, they got married the next day.

This time, they swam in the event first and then used the rest of their time in Hawaii to celebrate their seventh anniversary.

Both fared well in this year’s event, which attracted 835 swimmers from all over the world. The obvious attraction is the warm waters of Hawaii.

In the women’s 45-49 age group, Burrows placed third out of 17 swimmers, completing the 2.38-mile ocean course in one hour, one minute, three seconds. Bastien swam the course in one hour, one minute and 53 seconds, placing 11th out of 79 swimmers in the 45-49 men’s age group. The Carson City residents compete for the Carson Valley Masters Swim Team.

Burrows equaled her highest finish in an open water event. Among Burrows top open water finishes have been third place finishes at Lake Sonoma and Donner Lake.

When asked about the couple’s top finishes, Bastien said, “I don’t have any, but she does.

“I’m usually good if I’m in the top 10, but she ranks higher than I do. I usually do it just to do it.”

At the 2000 Waikiki event, the couple crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. “I think he let me go across the finish line first,” Burrows said.

“I just wanted a picture I didn’t have,” Bastien said. “She wasn’t going to wait for me this year.”

Burrow, who grew up in Southern California, has been a competitive swimmer since she was four.

“It wasn’t until I moved up to Northern Nevada that I even knew there was open water swimming,” she said.

After all, the area does have one of the largest, although also coldest open water areas to train in — Lake Tahoe.

“We actually don’t do that much training in Lake Tahoe,” Bastien said. “It’s pretty cold.”

Still fellow competitors ask the couple how they train since they don’t live close to an ocean. “I think they think we’re from Las Vegas,” Burrows said.

Open water swimming in the ocean can obviously be more challenging than a lake.

“You have currents to contend with whether you’re aware of that or not,” said Bastien about swimming at Waikiki. “But it’s warm and clear.”

“It can be kind of rough,” Burrows said. “Luckily this year we had the current with us. It wasn’t as choppy and rough as it could be.”

The couple plan to compete in the open water swimming indefinitely.

“The rest of our lives,” Bastien about how long they plan to continue. “Doing this will help you continue to do this.”

“As long as we’re physically able to,” Burrows also said.”

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.