Prairie Village woman takes third in national six-mile open water swim race

Joy Stover at Horsetooth (photo courtesy of Stover).

Prairie Village’s Joy Stover is having a stellar summer on the national swim circuit, and this week she topped it off with a big — or at least long — crowing achievement: a third place finish in a 10K open water swim in Colorado.

With a time of 2:14.28, Stover, 36, was the second female finisher and third overall at the Horsetooth Reservoir Open Water Swim near Fort Collins. The winner, a 24 year old from Arizona, did the more-than-six mile course in 2:09.35.

The 70-degree water and sub-60 degree air temperature were about perfect for her second 10K, Stover said. Her first was in saltwater in Miami. She has done several 5K events and this year posted firsts in three events at national master’s swim competitions.

Swimming since age 7, Stover was a varsity swimmer at Lawrence High School and Northwestern University. Now a Prairie Village resident for 10 years, she trains with the KC Blazers master’s club, usually at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center or Prairie Village pool, where her 90-minute workout at 5:30 a.m. will cover 4,000 to 4,500 meters four days per week.  She throws in a little cycling on her off days.

Horsetooth is a straight line swim across the reservoir rather than the usual loop so each swimmer has a paddler escort watching them the entire distance. That also made it easier to swim a straighter line towards the finish, which is challenging in an open water course, Stover said.

After Horsetooth, she ended up in the emergency room, but not because of the distance; the anti-fog spray she used on her goggles mixed with water and burned her cornea. Her Colorado recovery includes holing up in the dark for a few days.