Today I enjoyed a mid-day solo workout at the Y:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200s, 200d/s)
8 x 75
2 x 75 FR @ 1:15
2 x 75 FR/FR/BR @ 1:20
2 x 75 FR/BK/BR @ 1:25
2 x 75 FL/BK/BR @ 1:30
All freestyle = moderate pace with bilat breathing; on other strokes, on odds aim for pretty, on evens go fast
1 x 50 FL, fast, @ :50
1 x 200 IM easy-mod @ 3:30
2 x 50 BK @ :50, desc.
1 x 200 IM easy-mod @ 3:30
3 x 50 BR @ :55, desc.
1 x 200 IM easy-mod @ 3:30
4 x 50 FR @ :50, desc.
1 x 200 IM easy @ 3:30
[Goal was to descend each set of 50s to 200 IM race pace. I went :37, :36, :41, :32. Once I did the math and discovered those added up to 2:26, which is probably way faster than I could go right now, I was happier with my swims here.]
300 warmdown + play
I had a nice swim at Riverbank this morning. The water was cooler, and I got to share a lane with Rondi and Andrew. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
10 x 50 FR: 3 @ :55, 3 @ :50, 3 @ :45, 1 easy
200 FR @ 3:30
1 x 100 FR @ 1:30
200 FR pull w/paddles @ 3:30
2 x 100 FR @ 1:30
200 FR pull w/paddles @ 3:30
3 x 100 FR, odds @ 1:30, even @ 1:35
200 FR pull w/paddles @ 3:30
4 x 100 FR, odds @ 1:30, evens @ 1:35
[I was hoping to do 1:30s on all the 100s, but that turned out to be a little too ambitious.]
200 easy swim
100 upside-down IM
10 x 50 (25 sprint, 25 easy) @ plenty-of-rest, sprinty parts done 3 fly, 3 back, 3 breast, 1 free
350 warmdown + play
I signed up for the Asphalt Green mini-meet this coming Sunday evening, opting for a lineup of it’s-good-to-be-a-masters-swimmer events: 50 FL, 50 BK, 50 BR, and 100 IM. Should be a fun time, and a chance to finally see some of my meet buddies who swim for other area teams!
I had a nice but short swim at Brighton Beach today. I had been very lucky to get in a 5-mile swim a couple of days before Hurricane Sandy struck in late October, and this was my first time back there to swim since. The water has dropped to 46 degrees—more than 10 degrees lower than the last time I was in—and my body hasn’t had a chance to acclimate to the lower temps, so I decided that I would be conservative about how much time I spent in the water today.
The train ride out was an adventure, and was punctuated by several unexpected changes of trains and a 40-minute wait at a station in Brooklyn. Luckily I had a fellow CIBBOWS swimmer keeping me company—Pauline and I found each other while waiting and had a nice chat. Finally we arrived at the beach, where we found a half-dozen swimmers getting dressing and shivering after their swims, and a couple of others still in. The foggy day was mild in comparison to recent ones, with air temps in the low 50s. I chatted a bit while getting prepared to go in, then headed out into the water.
It was cold. Walking into the water just plain hurt. I took my time getting in, and after my feet and legs numbed up a bit I found the courage to put my head in and start swimming. Once I started stroking it was better—wading in and dunking really is the hardest part! I swam towards the big jetty to the east, and after a few minutes began to feel a nice warmth suffusing my core and eventually spreading to my face. It really felt as though I were swimming over hot springs. I’ve had that reaction to swimming in cold water before, although not in a while—it tends to go away the more acclimated to the cold I get. I savored the warm feeling and enjoyed swimming easily along in the flat water.
When I got to the jetty I was feeling great, and thought about continuing along to the white building. But I reminded myself that I was being conservative today, so turned around. I swam back, a little closer to shore now, and watched the bottom swaying under me as the gentle waves carried me along. When I got back to my starting place I could see Hannah on shore, holding my swim parka for me in case I wanted to get out, but I was still enjoying the water so I continued on. I saw some birds congregated on the water ahead of me, so stopped and swam around them, then swam about half-way to the next jetty. I was still pretty warm, but my feet and legs were starting to feel tingly with cold, so I decided to turn back around.
I swam back to my starting point, did a few strokes of backstroke, contemplated swimming further, but decided it was best to leave myself longing for more ocean swimming than to get too chilled my first time back. I’d swum about 1K. I got out, gratefully accepted my parka, then went back up to my blanket to quickly get dressed before the shivering set in.
Once dressed, I walked up and down the beach until the shivering was almost gone—it wasn’t too violent today, but my teeth were definitely chattering. I hung out with the rest of the CIBBOWS crew, enjoyed some food, then we headed back up to the subway. The trains were behaving better on the way home, but today’s ratio of travel time to time in the water still might have set a record. It was totally worth it though! I have missed the beach, and was so grateful to be back in the water and back among friends out on the sand today.
I had a nice mid-morning swim at the Vanderbilt Y (on East 47th between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) today. I hadn’t been to this pool in a few years--it's across town, a couple of subway trains away--and getting over there turned out to be an adventure in lostness. I got lost trying to find the elusive Northwest Passage (yes it’s called that) out of Grand Central Station (which I was determined to use to avoid walking a couple of extra blocks outside, in the cold--did I mention it's winter here now?) I was confused again trying to find the women’s locker room once I got to the Y. After I’d changed, it was down into the sub-basement and through a maze of corridors before I finally stumbled upon the pool … oops, the wrong pool … then some more wandering around until I finally found the lap swimming pool. There I was very happy to find Hannah, Ken, and Yuta colonizing the fast lane. They kindly stopped to explain the mega-set in progress to me. I joined in, customizing it as follows:
600 scy warmup (6 x 25 back/75 free)
400 FR drill with peppy turns
300 IM sandwich (100fr/100im/100fr) @ 4:30
3 x 100 free/back halfsies @ 1:30
400 IM play
300 IM sandwich @ 4:30
3 x 100 FR/BK halfsies @ 1:30
6 x 50 FR @ :45, switching leader every 50
3 x 100 FR/BK halfsies @ 1:25, 1:30, 1:35
4 x 50 @ 1:15 to warm back up after chatting
Then I did this last bit on my own:
4 x 50 IM order @ :55 (25 build into turn, fast turn, rest easy)
6 x 25 BR, working on pullouts and finishes
400 FR drill + warmdown
I felt good and smooth by the end of this workout. The pool was pleasantly cool, and it was nice swimming with a group of friends after doing a lot of solo swimming this week.
Updated December 2nd, 2012 at 07:21 AM by swimsuit addict
I had a nice but tired swim at Riverbank this morning with Rondi. It was a clear and cold morning, and through the pool windows we were able to watch the full moon setting over the river during breaks during the first set. Here’s what I did:
800 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p)
1 x 500 FR, mod. pace
2 x 300, done as 50 ST (IM order) / 50 FR [I did the first one long and easy, and intended to do the 2nd one as 25 build + 25 fast + 50 easy, but it was clear by the 150 that I had no fast swimming in me this morning—I gave in and decided to make it a long slow swimming day rather than fight with the water.]
3 x 200 IM, with 1st 100 kick on 1st, middle 100 kick on 2nd, last 100 kick on 3rd
4 x 150 FR/BK/FR at drill pace, working on rotation and strong core
5 x 100, odds IM, evens kick
400 warmdown + play
That was it!
The reason I was so tired this morning is that I did a breaststroke clinic last night from 8-9. It was so worth it! The clinic was taught by my team’s head coach Scott, and was billed as an advanced clinic focused on racing technique. I learned that I was dipping my hands down too much on the recovery, thus creating drag with my arms during the glide phase—I am working on keeping my arms parallel to, and very near, the surface of the water. (This tests the limits of my shoulder flexibility, and left me a little sore). I worked on throwing my head into the water after each breath when sprinting—this helps drive turnover. Also got some tips on the pullout (changed the timing of my dolphin kick, and altered my hand placement after the pulldown from beside my thighs to the front) and on timing the approach to the wall at the start and finish. It was an hour well spent, and made me want to go to the other advanced clinics that are offered. But it did involve a lot of swimming at top speed, and I was definitely feeling the effects of that plus the lack of sleep this morning.
I enjoyed another nice solo swim at the Y today. I swam in the early afternoon and had a lane to myself for all be the first 800 or so of the following:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
100 @ 1:40, 50 @ :50
100 @ 1:40, 50 @ :45
100 @ 1:40, 50 @ :40
100 @ 1:40, 50 @ :35
100 @ 1:35, 50 @ :40
100 @ 1:30, 50 @ :45
100 @ 1:25, 50 @ :50
100 @ 1:20, 50 @ :55
100 @ 1:15, 50 @ 1:00
100 @ 1:10, 50 @ 1:05 [missed on this 100—did a 1:10+]
700 easy warmdown + play
I enjoyed this set—it started out very gently, and by the time it got hard there was too much to do figuring out the sendoffs to fret about anything else. But it seemed a little short—I might double the 50s next time I do it, or palindrome it if I’m feeling bold.
I’m feeling a little unsettled with my swimming these days—I vacillate between feeling happy to just be going to the pool and swimming for the fun of it and feeling dissatisfied because I don’t have something concrete to train for. In the short term, I need to decide whether I want to swim the Asphalt Green meet on December 9th. And in the long term, I need to start thinking about what things I want to do next spring and summer, and what I need to make them happen. Lots of possibilities out there--the difficulty will be choosing among them!
Today I swam mid-day at the Y:
1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
Pieces of IM sets:
8 x 25, 2 each stroke, IM order, odds K, evens S, @ :30
7 x 50 IM pieces (50 fly, 25 FL / 25 BK, 50 BK, 25 BK/25 BR, etc) @ :50—strong and controlled
6 x 75 IM pieces @ 1:20, odds K/S/K, evens S/D/S
5 x 100 IM pieces @ 1:30, solid effort on all
4 x 125 IM pieces @ 2:00, done as 50 build / 25 sprint (turns inclusive) / 50 easy
3 x 150 IM pieces @ 2:30, 90% effort
2 x 175 IM pieces @ 3:15, all swimming between flags easy, turns as pretty as possible on first 175, and as fast as possible on 2nd 175
1 x 200 IM fast
(Masters minute between each set)
Warmdown: 5 x 200 FR, odds S, evens pull with paddles
I’d started this pieces of IM set at a workout earlier this month, and had to get out after the first 150. I’d been wanting to do the whole thing ever since, and today’s solo workout was a fine opportunity for that.
This morning I swam at Riverbank with Rondi. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup
4 x 50 (25 fast / 25 easy) @ 1:05
4 x 50 (25 very fast / 25 easy) @ 1:10
4 x 350 turduckens
100 FL / 50 BK / 50 BR / 50 BK / 100 FL
100 BK / 50 BR / 50 FR / 50 BR / 100 BK
100 BR / 50 FR / 50 FL / 50 FR / 100 BR
100 FR / 50 FL / 50 BK / 50 FL / 100 FRv
[Before we began this set, I noticed that the adjacent lane only had one swimmer, and that that guy was doing lots of fly, so I scooted over from my more crowded lane, figuring someone doing fly themselves was unlikely to object to all the stroke in this set. It wasn’t until the set was over that I discovered that that guy was actually That Guy! It was nice to get to meet him in person.]
4 x 200 FR, odds pull w/ paddles, evens swim
600 warmdown + play
[New 50 backwards-IM PR: 2:20]
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Thanksgiving came early today as Rondi, John, and I celebrated the season with the traditional turducken set. The water was a mite cooler than on Monday, when I had deemed it too hot for a workout and just done some easy drills and practiced my backwards swimming. (How hot is too hot? If I stick my tongue out while I’m swimming and there’s no discernible difference between the temp of the pool water and the inside of my mouth, that’s too hot). But I was also better prepared, having brought both a lycra cap and my new creation, a cap into which I had cut ventilation holes, stegosaurus style:
O Holey Cap!
The latter worked well, and kept me from overheating during the following:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
4 x 350 Turduckens, done as follows
100 FL / 50 BK / 50 BR / 50 BK / 100 FL
100 BK / 50 BR / 50 FR / 50 BR / 100 BK
100 BR / 50 FR / 50 FL / 50 FR / 100 BR
100 FR / 50 FL / 50 BK / 50 FL / 100 FR
After the turduckens, we all played around with backwards swimming—my backwards backstroke is getting better, giving me hope that I can get my backwards 50IM time under 2:30--then I did the following short finishing set
2 x 200, odds FR w/ paddles, evens swim
That was it! I’ll see if I feel like another help of turduckens tomorrow (or maybe I’ll dream up the swimming equivalent of the veggiducken . . .) And the new hat style is definitely a keeper for those warm Riverbank mornings!
A less determined swimmer would have given up as she waited, and waited, for the much delayed 1 train this morning. I was glad I persevered, because I eventually got up to Riverbank and was able to do this solo lcm IM workout in an uncrowded pool—I either had the VF lane to myself or shared it with just one other swimmer the entire time. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 d/s)
4 x 150 k/s/k, reverse IM order [my legs were still very sore this morning from diving practice—this helped loosen them up a bit]
4x thru, with ST = IM order by rounds
3 x 50 ST @ 1:10, desc. to goal 200 IM pace
50 easy FR @ 1:00
200 IM @ 3:45, faster each round [3:38, :32, :28, :24]
300 warmdown + play
My breaststroke today felt nice and smooth, but was in fact slow—I only got my fastest 50 down to :56, when I was aiming for a :49-:50. It makes me glad I signed up for a breaststroke clinic in a couple of weeks—today it was definitely the weakest link in my IM.
Today I swam TNYA’s mid-day workout at John Jay College. It was a crowded pool—there were 7 in most lanes, including mine—but with considerate and mindful lanemates all things are possible. Mine kept me laughing in the intervals between swims as well—it was a reminder of why I really love swimming with this team.
Here’s what I did:
950 scy warmup: 300s, 7 x 50 kick @ :10 rest, 300 alt free/back by 50
12 x 25 @ :30: odds BK w/ 10 underwater kicks, evens FR
500 pull, with breathing pattern [I just did bilateral]
2x thru (First round = FR, 2nd round = BK on last 25 of single swims, then BK for all 4 50s)
150 @ 2:30
100 @ 1:40
50 @ 1:10
4 x 50 desc. @ 1:00 [31 on fastest FR, 35 on fastest BK]
Then we repeated all of the above from the 500 on, only skipping the last 150/100/50 on the last round because we were running out of time.
I swam at Riverbank this morning with a fun lane full of open-water swimmers—Rondi, John, Hannah, Mike, and Andrew were all there. I got there late after sleeping in a bit—diving practice in Queens until 10pm make Thursdays a late night for me—and missed the long set of the day, but was happy to join in for the last bit. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
5 x 200 swim > kick pacman
Nice to feel like part of the gang today!
Diving practice is still my weekly thrill, especially now that swimming at the beach is on hiatus for a bit. I’m still mostly working on getting the timing of my hurdle and jump off the board right, but am also doing various line-ups off the 1 and 3m boards, and forward tuck dives off the 1m. Fun stuff!
I swam at Riverbank this morning with Rondi and Hannah. The pool was uncrowded, but very warm. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup
3 x 200 descend @ :10 rest
2 x 200 steady pace @ :10 rest
1 x 200 fast
I was thoroughly wilted by the end of this set, even though I took my cap off for the kicking. I decided that trying to swim hard in water that hot just wasn’t being any fun, so after a few aimless 100s to cool down I regrouped and did about 40 minutes of balance drills and play for the rest of the session.
(On a Goldilocks note: today's team email announced that one of TNYA's pools, at Baruch college, will be re-opening this week after having been damaged in the storm--but that the water temp there is currently 72! If only I could average out there and Riverbank I would be set . . .)
I swam with TNYA this morning at John Jay:
Warmup: 300s, 200IM, 100k, 200 drill IM
2 x 50 drill @ 1:00
3 x 100 IM @ 1:40
4 x 25 choice @ :35
3.5x thru (ran out of time for 4 rounds)
3 x 50 K @ 1:00
1 x 200 FR @ 3:00 with rotating 50 fast
4 x 75 choice, odds fast @ :55, evens easy @ 1:10 (these intervals got upped by :10 midway thru set)
100 fast @ 1:10
[I dropped 50-75 each round to keep this from completely turning into mushy swimming—I just wasn’t prepared to do this much fast swimming on this amount of rest. Did manage to make all my 100s fast under 1:10, and got in some good 25 and 50 sprints when we were supposed to be doing 75s fast.]
The meet I signed up for this coming Sunday has now been cancelled. Thinking of swimming the one at Asphalt Green on December 9th.
Updated November 13th, 2012 at 01:17 PM by swimsuit addict
I enjoyed a nice swim with Rondi at Riverbank this morning:
1000 lcm warmup (200s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)
A magic 700 combines two things in an alternating 1/1/2/1/3/1/4/1 (lengths) pattern. I did 3 as follows:
1 x magic 700, alternating FR/BK
1 x backwards magic 700, alternating FR / ST (IM order)
1 x magic 700, alternating kick (FL and BK) / FR swim
400 pull with paddles
15 x 100, done as 5 x (100 FR, 50 FR/50 BK, 100 BK @ 2:00), goal was to descend effort within each set of 3 so that 100 BKs were fast [1:35-1:40s]
500 warmdown + play
Here in the city, waiting for the storm to arrive—seemed like the perfect time to catch up on my blog. So, here’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks:
· Took some time off from the pool after the end of my open-water swim season
· Traveled to a couple of wonderful family celebrations—my mom’s 80th birthday in Alabama, and my husband’s cousin’s wedding in Philly. Decided that all my family should move from Alabama to Philly, as that travel was soooooooo much easier.
· Resumed diving practices upon the reopening of the Flushing Meadows pool, and discussed with Coach Croft what I would need to do to compete in diving at the Seattle IGLA meet next August
· Worked on some technique issues that need fixing on my freestyle—left-side breathing is getting better and feeling more natural
· Committed myself to attending a swim meet on November 18—events still to be determined, but leaning towards 4IM and some 200s stroke in a last-ditch attempt to make TT in something this year
· Spent a wonderful afternoon/evening exploring the wonders at Chelsea Piers with three friends, courtesy of the guest passes supplied by rxleakem—thanks Mike! This visit included a Friday night session with the Chelsea Piers masters team, a wonderfully friendly group of folks. I also came to the realization that it’s a very good thing I don’t normally work out at a pool with an adjacent hot tub—if I ask myself before every set whether I want to keep swimming or go lounge, the latter eventually wins.
· Swam my first super-loop of the season—just yesterday. Grimaldo’s chair to the east end of Manhattan Beach to the Coney Island pier then back, 5 miles in 59-degrees. It was completely wonderful, and made me hope it’s not the last super-loop of the season—we’ll see what this storm has done to the water temps and condition by next weekend . . .
· Celebrated a friend’s 40th birthday with 40 x 50 this morning at Riverbank: multiples of 3 = BR, multiples of 4 = BK, multiples of 7 = FL, earlier in IM trumps later in IM, plus all prime numbers = kick. (Yes, it was a little complicated.)
Here’s hoping Sandy doesn’t wreak too much havoc . . . hope all my fellow east coasters stay safe and that the power stays on for the next few days. Fingers crossed here in the city!
Updated October 29th, 2012 at 01:11 PM by swimsuit addict
I finally swam beyond the pier at Coney Island—far beyond the pier! Yesterday I swam 7 miles from Coney Island to Sandy Hook, NJ as part of a test swim of conducted by CIBBOWS. We met up at the Coney Island Aquarium between 4 and 4:30 am, and the swim got underway a little after 5. Air temps were around 50, so the few minutes of waiting around on the sand after I had relinquished my clothes and sent them out to the waiting boats were a mite chilly. But the water was still relatively warm at 67 degrees, and as soon as I got and things got underway I felt comfortable.
The first hour of the swim was in the dark, and I loved it. The night was clear, and the bright quarter moon was reflected off the water, making for a good bit of ambient light. My escort kayak had lights fore and aft, and I could see my kayakers Teddy and Danika (it was a double kayak) silhouetted against the western sky as I swam along. A few white phosphorescent glows met my fingertips as I stroked through the water, and any air bubbles I made on my entry were lit up too. Everything seemed so calm and magical, and I wasn’t at all afraid. An idle resolution passed through my head: Night swimming is so wonderful it’s the only kind I’m doing from here on out. If only that were halfway realistic,..
Out in the water with me were three other swimmers, John, Willie, and Dan. We each had our own escort kayak, as well as three motorized boats supporting the swim. On the boats were the four swimmers who would be making the return journey, along with a number of CIBBOWS volunteers who were supporting the swim and collecting data for future crossings. For a while I could see the other kayaks’ stern lights ahead of me, as well as some of the boats’ lights in the distance, but by the first feed I couldn’t see anything else around me except for my own kayak. That was actually nice—when I breathed to my left, on the non-kayak side, I could pretend I was all by myself out in the big ocean.
As I stroked along the sky to the east began to brighten noticeably, then broad strata of pinks and oranges began to appear. I was breathing to my left more and more to admire the pre-sunrise show. The water began to get choppier at this point, with the wind kicking up some waves from the west which made breathing left the easier option, as well. Occasionally the waves were big enough to splash over me, and when they did this I could see the reflection of the green blinking light attached to my goggle strap.
Things were seeming very calm until around sunrise, when the grey support boat appeared in front of us, and we appeared to be making a left turn. Then I started seeing the sunrise on my right—were we making a u-turn? I did a stroke of breaststroke and looked over at Teddy—why had we changed directions? “We have to wait—do you want to swim or stop?” he asked. Aha—we must be near the shipping channel. “Swim!” I said reflexively, then started stroking again. But then I decided I wanted see what was going on. I stopped and looked around, only be told “There’s traffic—we have to get out of the channel.” Before I could finish saying “I want to see the traffic!” I looked ahead and saw a very large barge in the distance, heading our way. Nearby was another of our support boats, this one with all the swimmers for the return trip on deck on board, and they were all pointing to the left. I got the message—swim that way. I did, and got well clear of the shipping channel, then swam eastward, while waiting for the tug and its barge to cross. Teddy pointed out that there was another tug/barge approaching from the other directions. They crossed paths almost directly in front of us, a more-than-safe distance away. It was a really cool sight, with the sun glinting off the barges’ loads. It was interesting to see how far the tug boats were from the barges, and see the chains attaching them stretched between the two. I dipped my head down into the water to hear the deep clanking sound they made as they passed by.
Sunrise over the Ambrose Channel (photo credit R. Davies)
(One reason this swim requires so much support is that it goes across the Ambrose Channel, a major shipping lane used by traffic entering and leaving New York harbor—a lot of very big boats, barges, container ships and the like pass through here. Near the beginning of the swim I could see a huge cruise ship making its way across in the darkness, its decks all aglow.)
Once the ships were past we got the green light to continue on. The water seemed to have gotten rougher, but the chop was mostly from the sides and behind rather than head-on, so it remained easy going. I could tell when I stopped for feeds that the wind was blowing from the west—while Danika did the bottle hand-offs, Teddy maneuvered the kayak to keep it from blowing into me during the stops. I could also see some heavy clouds moving in from the west, and hoped any bad weather they were bringing would hold off until I finished my swim.
After another feed or two Teddy told me he could see the beach ahead. I didn’t put much stock in this, since I had learned in the Cape Cod swim how long it can take to reach a beach you can see. But over the next half-hour it did seem to be betting rapidly nearer. When I looked forward to sight I could see strange tall dark figures standing at regular intervals along the sand—the phrase “Easter Island statues” popped into my head. I looked again to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but they were still there. It took me a bit to make sense of what I was seeing—fishermen, in dark waders, casting into the surf.
As we got within a mile to half-mile of shore I could feel some large swells propelling me forward. I thought about stopping and asking my kayaker if there would be breakers to contend with when exiting the water—sometimes when there’s biggish surf at my Florida beach swimming into shore feels like this. But I decided that I would be able to judge that better for myself as I got nearer shore. Around this point there also seemed to be some odd currents—sometimes when I would place my hand in the water it would feel like it was being pulled downward or to the side by the water. I worried a little about the current changing before I reached the beach—it can get strong around Sandy Hook, making finishing after slack tide has passed difficult. I picked up my pace to make sure I would make it in. But every time I looked up I was very noticeably closer to shore, so it seemed like I was making good progress.
Approaching Sandy Hook (photo credit R. Davies)
As I neared the beach Agent Orange came around beside me—I could see Rondi and Dave on board and I waved to them mid-stroke. Right before I landed it seemed like my kayak was getting between me and the shore for some reason—I wondered if they were getting pushed towards me by the wind and surf, but then looked up and saw that they were leading me around some fishing lines to a safer place to land. The sandy/pebbly bottom came into view—the sand is much coarser here than at Coney Island., I swam until my fingers touched, then stood up and walked ashore. I was done, in just under 3 hours.
I hugged and congratulated Willie, who was already on shore, then hugged and thanked my Teddy and Danika, who had landed their kayak nearby. The fisherman—wrapped up in waders and layers of clothes—looked at Willie and me as if we had landed from outer space. “Where did you come from?” “Coney Island!” They just grunted and went back to their poles.
I waded back out into the water—it was warmer there--then saw the other two swimmers heading towards shore. I went over to cheer them in and give them hugs after they landed, then we all headed back out to the boats. As I was wading out a crab pinched my toe. I yelped just a little, but no harm was done. I did get my feet up off the bottom pronto, and out swam to Agent Orange. I climbed aboard, put on some warm clothes—my brief time on the beach had chilled me a bit—then settled in to enjoy the return trip. Four new swimmers got into the water for the return crossing, the kayakers stretched and readied themselves for another few hours of feeding and guiding swimmers, and off we were.
The return trip was interesting and fun. The sky clouded over and it eventually rained, but the wind had died down and water conditions were nice and calm for the return swimmers. I used all the clothes I brought—long underwear, wool pants, rain pants, wool sweater, swim parka—but managed to stay pretty warm. Being out on the water is just nice, even when it’s rainy and cold.
And I got to see firsthand all the behind-the-scenes stuff it requires to get swimmers safely across shipping lanes. Dave and the other boaters were constantly on the radio with each other, with our Coast Guard escort, and with commercial traffic, discussing the swimmers’ positions and when they would enter and exit the channels (besides the Ambrose, we go through two lesser boating lanes, the Sandy Hook Channel and the Coney Island Channel). Occasionally we would intercept smaller boats that were zipping by and alert them to the swimmers’ presence. The kayakers also had radios, and used them to get instructions or give reports to the various boats. It made me appreciate all the coordination and care it takes to pull this sort of event off. I’ll never again look at Sandy Hook from Coney Island, and wonder if I couldn’t just swim over there on my own.
The tides gave us a slower trip on the way back, but by 1 pm we were all back at Coney Island. I hopped ashore and went gratefully up to the Aquarium to warm up, change out of my rain gear, and say goodbye to other swimmers and all the kayakers and volunteers who had made the day possible. It was a good day out on the water, and I hope everything goes equally well for the other swimmers who will be test-swimming this route over the next three weekends.
This was my last OW event of the season, and I was happy with how things went—it was pretty much an all-fun-all-the-time experience. I loved swimming at night, I thought it was really cool to see all the various other vessels out on the water, I felt well supported and safe, and greatly appreciated the chance to spend some quality time with the water on a glorious morning. It was a great way to end my 2012 season. And as a bonus, the 7-mile trip nudged me over 500 miles in GTD—so I got a free swimsuit out of the day as well. Thank you CIBBOWS!
This was the last event of my 2012 season:
May 4: Inaugural Arizona SCAR swim, Saguaro Lake (9 miles)May 5: Inaugural Arizona SCAR swim, Canyon Lake (9 miles)May 6: Lake Roosevelt, Arizona (10 miles)May 13: 2 Bridges test swim, Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, NY (5K)June 1: IGLA North Atlantic Midnight Open Water Swimming Challenge, Nauthólsvík beach, Reykjavík, Iceland (250m)June 26: 8 Bridges Stage 2, Hudson River, Kingston-Rhinebeck Bridge to Mid-Hudson (Poughkeepsie) Bridge (18.3 miles, 6:31:19, finished 4/4)July 7: Kingdom Swim, Lake Memphremagog, Vermont (10 miles, 5:00.28, finished 21/50 overall, 6/19w)August 21: P2P Plymouth to Provincetown swim, Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts (20 miles, 11:45)September 9: USMS 2-mile national championships, Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey (2 miles, 52:36.49, 1st in AG)September 15: Bannerman’s Return test swim, Hudson River near Cold Spring, New York (10.5K, 3:20)September 22: Little Red Light House Swim, Hudson River, NYC (10.2K, 2:06:46, 38/284 finishers, 8th woman, 1st in AG)September 30: Bannerman’s Return test swim, Hudson River near Cold Spring, NY (10.5K, 3:25)October 7: CIBBOWS Coney Island to Sandy Hook test swim, (7.5? miles, 2:57:47)
Updated October 16th, 2012 at 01:12 PM by swimsuit addict
(season recap added)
Today I took advantage of some gorgeous weather and headed out to the beach with 4 like-minded friends. Instead of going to Brighton, we headed down to Coney Island—usually the western terminus of our 5k loop—with plans to ride soon-to-close WonderWheel after our swim. The water was amazingly clear, and flat. I swam close-in to shore with one His-Ling, looking at all the stuff there was to see on the bottom, then did a mini-loop between the pier and the end of the aquarium with Rondi. The water was in the high 60s, and the sun and sand were very warm. At the end of the jetty near us were several cormorants that we enjoyed watching
Although I said in my last post that I intended to swim past the pier the next time I was at the beach, we didn’t quite make it to the other side today. There were jetskis close to the end of the pier, so going around looked iffy. We did swim close enough to the pilings to determine that they didn’t look too daunting to swim through . . . on another day. (I also came up with a third way to get to the other side of the pier, but we didn’t go that route either).
After swimming I went up to the boardwalk with Rondi and John for this year’s end-of-season ride on the WonderWheel. It was a beautiful day, with good visibility—at the top of the ferris wheel we could see the VZ Bridge and Manhattan in one direction, and Sandy Hook, NJ in the other.
It was especially nice to be able to see Sandy Hook because on Sunday I will be doing a test swim from Coney Island to there—I got to see the route we’ll be taking from up in the air today. Sandy Hook is where last year’s Ederle swim started, so I’ve been there--briefly--once before. Since you can see it from Brighton Beach/Coney Island it seems a natural destination for a substantial (7m) swim starting from “our” beach—we often speculate about swimming there when we’re gathered for weekend swims. No more need to speculate! This month CIBBOWS is doing test swims of the crossing every weekend to check currents and routes, and I’m lucky enough to be among the first testers. I’ll be starting early Sunday morning and will be swimming mostly in the dark (and in the cold and rain, if the weather forecast holds). I loved swimming through the darkness during the Cape Cod swim, and Sunday’s adventure will give me a chance to see if I’m just as fearless about night swimming when I’m out there alone. I can’t wait!
I was counting up yesterday, and this Sandy Hook test swim will be the 10th swim longer than 10K that I’ve done this season. I’m feeling a little tired, in truth, but it’s tough to stop when so many fun and intriguing opportunities keep popping up!
I had a very fun weekend full of open-water swimming. On Saturday I went out to Brighton Beach for a swim—I went to the pier and back—followed by CIBBOWS’s annual volunteer party at famed boardwalk bar Ruby’s. It had been a while since I was last out at Brighton, and it was wonderful to see all my beach pals there. Fall beach season has officially started—the water was around 66 degrees, and felt wonderful. The ocean was full of little organic thingies—tiny, filament-y stuff suspended in the water. I recalled something I had read about some sort of ocean fauna—tuna, I think—whose young migrated to “nutrient rich” waters. This water seemed very nutrient rich, but I didn’t see any larger fauna taking advantage of it, other than jellyfish.
And seabirds. There were a lot of gulls around, and at one point when I was swimming back from the pier I lifted my head to sight and saw a cormorant sitting in the water, only about a foot ahead of me—another stroke and I would have made contact. It was watching me calmly as it floated along. I said hi and circled around it.
After my swim I hung out on the beach, visiting with friends and eating my lunch, then practiced cartwheels and fancy skipping with Hsi-Ling. (Beach plyo, as I think of it). I tried to get people to go back into the water with me for synchro, but had no takers—most everyone was either done with their swims and already dressed, or just heading out. After a bit we all wandered up the boardwalk to Ruby’s, where CIBBOWS was providing food and drinks for a few hours. I hung around in the bar a bit, then headed out onto the Coney Island Pier with a few like-minded friends. Although I have swum to this pier dozens of times—it marks the western end of the 5k loop we all swim—I had never actually walked out on it before. It was fun to have a new perspective on the beach and jetties, as well as educational—what looks very far out from shore when we’re in the water seems fairly close in from higher-up.
I also found out that while I’ve been away, my CIBBOWS swim buddies have been adventuring into new waters. Many of them have been swimming past the pier, down to the last jetty before Seagate. In fact, the big divide is not whether people go past the pier or not, but whether they go around or under. I have never swum past the pier before, and now I’m definitely feeling behind the curve. I know where I’m going next time I’m out at Brighton! (And I think around is the way to go—I know I’m not brave enough to go under!)
I spent a little more time at Ruby’s before heading home for dinner and a good night’s sleep before the next day’s adventure. On Sunday I rode the train up to Cold Spring to swim the 10+K Bannerman’s Island Return course in the Hudson. I had done this swim a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely—it’s a wonderfully scenic section of the river—so I jumped at the chance to do it again when Rondi and Dave decided that a second test swim was warranted. This time there were eight swimmers, divided into 4 pods of 2, with a kayaker accompanying each pair and Agent Orange patrolling the course and collecting data. I was partnered with John H, with Terry as our kayaker, and we all worked well together and enjoyed a wonderful day on the river.
On our trip up to Bannerman’s we enjoyed beautiful sunny skies. We probably dallied a little more than we should have, submerging to listen to the noises barges make under water, doing synchro, and just stopping to enjoy the glorious views—for the tide turned a little bit before we got to Bannerman’s. But the current against us wasn’t as strong as last time, and we were able to easily swim against it to the northern tip of the island before turning around and riding it back downriver to the start. In the process I confirmed that I might be part salmon—I really enjoy the sensation of swimming against the current. I think of those cylinders of water that I’ve seen in aquaria that contain salmon swimming against a spiraling current. That would be me if I had my druthers.
On the way to Bannerman I could see some very dark clouds moving in from the west, and when we stopped for our first feed after rounding the island we could hear thunder in the distance. We were instructed to swim close to shore on the way back so that we could get out quickly in case the thunderstorms came our way. Luckily they did not, although some rain did. It was very cool swimming with such dramatic skies around us, and I felt safe with Terry and Agent Orange nearby in case of trouble.
Eventually the skies cleared, and by the time we finished our swim—3h25m later after we started—the sky was again sunny and blue. I had a very nice ride home on the train admiring the river I had just swum in. It was a great way to close out the weekend.
And here's a video from the swim, during a visit from Agent Orange while we were swimming upriver:
[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA29JmGbmNI"]P9300070.MOV bannerman island test swim - sun sep 30, 2012 (b) janet and john huges - YouTube[/nomedia]
Updated October 2nd, 2012 at 09:00 PM by swimsuit addict
I did a couple of easy swims at the Y over the past few days, but the highlight of this week was definitely diving practice last night. Our beginner group is still taking baby steps—working on proper technique when jumping off the board and when entering the water. I did manage to learn two more ways of going headfirst off the 3m board, in addition to the “line-up” (bending over and falling in headfirst) that we did last week. We did an exercise where we sat tucked-up on the end of the board, then tipped over forward, straightening out into a dive position on the way down. And at the very end of practice we did forward “fall-offs.” That involved standing on the end of the board, with hands up overhead in an entry position, then falling forward. If you keep your body very straight on the way down, you magically end up in a perfect vertical position by the time you enter hit water. That went from super-scary to super-fun in a big hurry!
I woke up this morning wishing I could go back to the pool and dive some more. I had to content myself with a short swim at the Y instead. Worse, it will be a long time before I get to go off the boards again—the Queens pool where we practice is closed for 3 weeks for its annual cleaning. That means dryland practices only until late October. Bummer! Still, I’m thrilled I’m doing this at all, and very happy to have found a new activity that brings so much excitement and joy.