About a year after beginning this blog, I got interested in open-water swimming, and it's been my passion ever since. Here's a list of some swims I've done.
I enjoyed the long weekend, and managed to get in good swims every day. On the Fourth I ventured out with a few pool tourism buddies to the Red Hook pool, where we did a fun workout before hitting the food trucks for a late lunch. Among the cityís summer outdoor pools Red Hook is special because it has lap swimming (40m lengths) during all open hours. It was lovely swimming almost-LCM outdoors on the sunny holiday, and the pool was a peaceful and oh-so-blue oasis on a hot summer day.
On Friday I went out to Brighton Beach and swam what was maybe the easiest 5k loop Iíve ever done. The water was flat, the current was negligible the entire time I was out, and it seemed like the distance just flew by. The surface of the water was so smooth and reflectiveóI enjoyed watching the small undulations reflecting the light on every breath. It was another hot sunny dayóweíve been having what I think of as good, honest summer weather this week, by Alabama standardsóbut the beach wasnít too crowded, and everyone seemed very mellow. I got there early and left early, before the sand became painful to walk on.
On Saturday I stayed here in the city to coach and do a pool workout. My team had three consecutive workouts at the John Jay College pool. I coached the middle one, which was aimed at newish masters swimmers (I got to explain pace clocks and intervals, which I always get a kick out offóitís easy to forget how foreign so many conventions of swim workouts seem those outside our community). I was then glad to jump into the water for the third session. That was a rare uncrowded TNYA workoutóI had my own lane, which never ever happens. Unfortunately, Iím not enjoying my pool swims as much as usual these days because I have a calf issue that keeps me from pushing off walls with any forceóitís frustrating when Iím trying to go fast but essentially have to come to a near standstill after each turn. Still, it was nice to swim with some longtime teammates, and again, the water was a cool respite on a toasty day. Itís good to be a swimmer in the summer!
Finally, today I went out to Brighton again for another loop. I arrived early, and bought a day pass at the Shorefront Y so that I could stash my stuff in a locker there and have a place to shower afterwards. That worked out well. I swam a loopóa difficult one this time, with some strong current against in both directions. On the way to the pier, I stopped at the cormorantsí jetty to say good morning to the birds, and watched as the current carried me swiftly backwards as soon as I stopped stroking. At the pier, I stopped to chat with Pauline and Melinda, and we were carried almost back to the next jetty (luckily in the direction we were about swim) during our chat. During the second half of the swim, I struggled for a while to make my way past the long jetty and then out to the white building, but then I just flew on the way back. There were some occasional swells when the wind kicked up, and I enjoyed swimming with them and then through them.
Through it all, I actually kind of relished the way the ocean thwarted my sense of expected progress. It made the experience kind of dreamy and surreal, since I felt like there wasnít much relation between my swimming motions and how fast I was moving. I certainly had the sense (and it was mostly just a suspicion, since I donít wear a watch when Iím swimming) that this loop was taking longer than usual, but that didnít bother meóI didnít have a deadline I had to finish by, I was confident I would get there eventually, and the water was a joy to be swimming in, so bonus swim time was in some ways a plus. It was freeing to realize that I wasnít very much in control of when I finished this swim, and that it was just a matter of stroking along until I was done.
Afterwards, I floated in a cold patch until I got chill bumps, then lay on the warm sand until I was hot (that took about 10 minutes), then got in and cooled off again before heading out. The water here is getting warmeróthe occasional cooler patches were a treat. Time to head up to Maine to find some colder ocean, which is exactly what I plan to do in a couple of weeks. Iíve signed up for the 2.4 mile Nubble Light Challenge on July 20, and have even secured an official wetsuit exemption for the event. It looks like a beautiful swim, and Iím excited to be going to an area of the country Iíve never visited before. It will be a quick trip this year, but if the area as pleasant as expected it might turn out to be a place for future vacations.
My other events this year are IGLA in Seattle (pool swimming, diving, and 2-mile OW swim) in August and the CIBBOWS Aquarium Swim in September. There are a few other OW 10k-ish swims in the area during September that I might choose to enter as well, but for the most part this is an off year for me on the OW front. Iím beginning to feel the glimmerings of the desire to do longer swims again, though, so I might start looking for a big swim to do in 2014.
As far as diving progressówell, things were going well, and I had even discovered a way to dive as many days of the week as I wanted, by supplementing TNYA workouts practices with the kids team practices at Columbia. The latest trick Iíve learned is a somersault with a full twist off the 1m, which I can do consistently legally but not very well. But my desire to dive more often seems to have gotten ahead of my bodyís ability to do so. My left calf is injured, and swells up painfully behind the knee when I do much with it. After a week and a halfís rest itís somewhat better, but still not healed enough to dive again, Iím getting it checked out this week, and will know more about when I can return to the boards after I see my doc and pt. (Breaststroke, hard kicking, and pushoffs are also painful, so I hope I can get this resolved soon). Until then, Iím glad Iím enjoying the OW swimming again. I guess itís good in any case to have multiple things you enjoy doing, all the more so with an aging and injury-prone body.