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  1. W 5:30-7:00am Devereux Beach, Marblehead, Open H2O Practice

    Come and join us!
    Devereux Beach Haiku



    Water Temp Sixty-one F
    Summer's first beach swim
    Bouncy Choppy Briny Bliss


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    We're having Wednesday a.m. practices at Devereux Beach in Marblehead this Summer, 5:30am to 7am.

    'Wrote the haiku after the practice. Since Swimming editor Laura Hamel requested them they have been coming to me after swimming milestones!.


    These are a few of the photos of the first mighty 5 YNS Sharks to swim open water practice in 2014. Katelyn Kidney swam it without a wetsuit the whole time, Tommy Gainer had taken his wetsuit out of the drawer after 4 years, it developed a broken seam, so he took his off after the mile. It was extremely choppy but they swam about 2300 yards as the Great Black-backed gull flies! Lt. to Rt., Sean Barow, Katelyn Kidney Lindsay Naggie, Tommy Gainer and Sal Genovese, who said, "thanks for getting us to the ocean Jen," Such a great reward for coaching my great group of swimmers of all levels!


    Updated June 28th, 2014 at 11:39 PM by JenBrehob

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    Swim Workouts
  2. Growing Pains (November-December 2013)

    by , November 1st, 2013 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    Knowledge, sometimes born from debate, is good for sports
    I know next to nothing about sports other than swimming. I’m an anomaly in almost any crowd—my friends tease me for not knowing what a first down is or look aghast when I suggest that the stuff you endure at a live baseball game is manufactured to distract you from the low energy level (Hey! It’s time to stand up and sing now!).

    Baseball, basketball, and football are so popular that many, many people know the rules of those games. Yes, there is controversy (betting, steroids, the NCAA, etc.), but the technical rules are generally understood (seemingly by everyone except me) and you can find lively, informed debate at watercoolers and in sports bars and broadcast booths around the country.

    Swimming is pretty far behind the ball sports in terms of mainstream understanding, but intensive media coverage of the swimming events of the past two Olympics means your office mate—whose only previous definition of an IM was instant messaging in the 1990s—is now on a first-name basis with marquee swimmers: “Can’t wait to see Michael and Ryan go at it in the 400 IM!”

    Not so much for open water, or more specifically, its lesser understood and gangly cousin, marathon swimming, which is currently experiencing growing pains thanks to the media coverage and subsequent controversy that surrounded Diana Nyad’s recent Cuba to Florida swim.

    It didn’t take long for debate to brew around Nyad’s swim; within days of her staggering ashore in Florida, marathon swimming insiders began asking questions that touched off a lengthy, ongoing conversation about rules, transparency, and the very integrity of the sport. What bloomed online is a debate that most people don’t have any way of participating in because marathon swimming is not a watercooler topic in most places.

    Still, most nonswimmers have heard of Nyad and her swim and comment frequently to us swimmers about it. It’s easy to see why her story has broad appeal: It touches on aging better, goal-setting, perseverance, and other inspirational themes that extend beyond the sport. And whether you know a lot or nothing about swimming, what she accomplished was impressive.

    But marathon swimming is a sport with a rich history, traditions, and technical rules, just like other sports. The small but vocal group of experts—many of them accomplished marathon swimmers—who are asking questions about Nyad’s swim have the opportunity to educate journalists, so that journalists, in turn, can educate the public when they start asking questions around the watercooler: Are you allowed to touch the boat? What is the difference between a marathon swim and an exhibition swim? What is the difference between assisted and unassisted? When do we stand up and sing?

    There will always be debate, and that’s a good thing, but knowledge is the key to informed debate. Let’s hope that Nyad’s swim and both its supporters and detractors bring a new level of understanding to a beautiful, sometimes brutal sport that tests the limits of both physical and mental endurance in ways most people cannot imagine.

    In this issue of SWIMMER, we’re excited to bring you profiles of two people who have been influential in helping us understand both marathon swimming and ball sports. Associate editor (and Triple Crown marathon swimmer) Elaine K. Howley writes about Michelle Macy’s amazing Ocean’s Seven feat in “Swimming Life” (Page 6) and frequent contributor Jim Harper writes about legendary sports journalist and Masters swimmer John Feinstein, who credits swimming with saving his life (Page 14). Reading his profile has made me want to read more about other sports. Feinstein is a gifted writer, and that’s something I can wrap my brain around, even if I don’t (yet) understand the seventh-inning stretch.

    Updated September 15th, 2016 at 05:07 PM by Editor

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    Staff Blogs
  3. Strait of Juan de Fuca: The swim

    by , August 3rd, 2013 at 05:13 PM (Please tap on the glass)

    We set out of Sequim harbor on the morning of Sunday, 28 July 2013 with a light fog and headed into last night’s lingering waves. The wind had only been 18kts – less than I’d originally feared – so the seas were choppy but manageable. We went in and out of fog banks on the way out as I sat in the back and watched Caitlin spell “F-U-C-A” to the Canadian Border Service on the phone and then call up Vessel Traffic (VTS). I ate a sausage egg and cheese as our little boat pounded her way through the thickening fog.

    All of a sudden, the sun peaked out and then there it was, the coast of Vancouver Island. Along shore, the weather was bright and clear with little or no wind and flat water. The rocky cliffs were lower than I’d imagined they would be, and the combination of teal water, grey rocks, tall Northwestern pines, and blue sky set me at ease. It was perfect. Behind us, however, lay a thick bank of fog, just as I’d feared.

    Caitlin had been on and off the phone with VTS about the fog for a while now, and they were requesting a mile of visibility to begin the swim. After a while, Caitlin convinced them to allow the swim to start and we’d deal with the fog if and when we reached it. It was a great move, because it allowed me to do the thing I’d been most hoping to do for months now.

    We launched the kayak as I gulped down a tin of sardines and quickly read the rules of the swim aloud to the crew and reminded everyone how serious I was about them (they knew, already). Cap on, Caitlin asked if I didn’t want something thicker than the thin Latex one I was wearing. Yes, she was right. My mind was still in training mode (make it harder for yourself) and switched to a thicker silicone cap.

    The boat faced east. I faced west. We were only about 25m from shore when I jumped, the swim through the kelp went quick and I hauled myself out on the rocks next to a Canadian fisherman. We shook hands and I told him I was swimming to America. Before he let it set in, I turned around and set my goggles. Kayaker Steve bumped the shore with his boat (he wanted to make the full crossing as well), and I dove back into the smooth green water.

    The sun was on my back and a huge smile was on my face. Victory! Eight months of planning and here we were. Sandwiched between blue sky and the sea, surrounded by a qualified and passionate support crew, the coast of Canada behind me, the American shore some twelve miles distant. As promised, I did some good reflecting on everything and everyone who helped me get here as I slid through the flat water.

    Somewhere around the first half hour I began to notice the cold. About the same time, so did my crew. The ships thermometer was reading between 46 and 47F (8 to 9C). On the boat, some jaws reportedly dropped. This was 5 degrees colder than I’d been expecting, and almost 8 degrees colder than what I’d seen on the buoys in the weeks leading up. Cleverly, my crew did NOT tell me this and let me go on thinking it was about 51 and I was just being a wimp.

    At around half an hour, we said farewell to the sun and entered the fog. To my left was the water, blending into the sky. To my right was Steve, blending into the fog, blending into the sky. For the second time now, Steve was the perfect kayaker. He knew what needed to be done and did it. And his aim with a water bottle was flawless. Steve provided a huge amount of mental warmth, something about seeing that red and yellow kayak 10m away made me feel safe. When he’d disappear to get a new water bottle, I felt cold. And alone. It was eerie out there.

    During one feed, I was finishing up yet another bottle of calories when I heard a BWWWWAAAAAaaaaaaa from behind Steve’s left shoulder. “Don’t worry. It’s about two miles away. They’re keeping an eye on them.” Stoic. Well, who am I to argue? Face in the water, move on.

    Little did I know, but they were really watching out for me. VTS and Caitlin were hard at work moving mountains of steel. The Traffic Separation Scheme has an inbound and outbound lane in the Strait with a median-like separation zone in between. While I swam in the shipping lanes, vessels were being sent out into the separation zone to avoid me. Pause for a moment to reflect upon the awesomeness of this…

    Shortly after two hours, the shivering began. I was now gulping down half a water bottle of calories every fifteen minutes and emptying a full bladder in the same interval. My metabolism was maxed out and I wasn’t getting any warmer. But I’ve shivered a long time before and was set to deal with it again. I was over thirty minutes ahead of schedule and knew I could hold out to the end.

    Around four and a half hours, I broke my rule and asked how much farther. I needed the motivation. My thigh flexors were screaming from the shivering, and all I could think of was how I wanted to curl up in a wingback chair bundled under a heavy blanket and doze off while pretending to read. “One point eight miles,” Steve said curtly, “you’re doing great, keep going.” Emotion wasn’t what I needed, just a voice gently telling me to keep going. So I did. I could do another hour.

    I asked Steve to stay by my side. I needed the company and the distraction he provided as we made our way quietly through the fog over gently rolling swells. The water had reached 50 at one point early on, but was now back in the high 40s.

    With thirty more minutes behind me, I needed to hear I was under a mile. The shoreline was too foggy to see. “One point five,” Steve said, “keep going, you’re almost there.” The numbers didn’t add up, but I could do another 45 minutes. A little more of this game was played and at six hours, I asked again. A confused murmur went through the crew, “You need to swim fast,” or “you’re doing great,” or “just over a mile.”

    That hurt. By now I could tell that something wasn’t right, we were moving too slowly to make this work. My ears had been filled with a high ringing for over a half hour and my vision was getting unreliable. I had a mile left in me, but the swim had more than a mile left in it. At six hours and ten minutes, I took my goggles off and looked at my crew, then at Steve, then I grabbed on to the front of the kayak. Clinging to the deck, he paddled me back to the boat.


    What went wrong? Not a lot. I did exactly what I wanted to do. I set out from Vancouver Island in a speedo, cap, and goggles and swam for twelve miles and longer than six hours. The only thing I didn’t do was to reach the other shore. We got started an hour late and I hadn’t given a clear course to follow for that time. Both an 8am course and 10 am course would have been handy, allowing us to swim between the two rather than just guessing “stay east.” With that we might have avoided what I assume was an eddy pushing us off shore. With that, I’ll be on shore in under five hours next time.

    What went right? Everything else. Sure, we’ve got little things to work on, but given the scale and complexity of this swim, and the fact that none of us had ever attempted to plan something like this from scratch, we did an awesome job!
    From that December evening I picked out two points on a map and declared to myself I am going to swim that, to dinner with friends in Port Angeles after Customs checked us back into the US, this has been a fantastic journey. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

    And next time, I’ll remember to pack a towel.

    Andrew still resides and swims in Seattle, and continues to be unable to thank his crew enough for what they’ve done. His next attempt will be in the Summer of 2014. #SJDF2014
  4. Open Water (March-April 2013)

    by , March 1st, 2013 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    Variety, adventure, helping others, and inspiration. Mix well, repeat.
    Each year my swimming friends and I combine an open water swim with some down time. In 2012, we chose the St. Croix Coral Reef Swim. Although our 5 miles was shortened to 2 miles after Tropical Storm Rafael blew through the racecourse, it was a great experience. The host resort, the Buccaneer, was a fantastic place for the race and the down time.

    Future swims on our list include the Bermuda Round the Sound race and Race for the Conch Eco-SeaSwim in Turks and Caicos. We’ve even thrown some chillier swims up for discussion: This year’s 9+ Mile National Championship is in Vermont, and there’s chatter about putting together a relay for Lake Tahoe someday, or trying Alcatraz, the Tiburon Mile, La Jolla, Big Shoulders, or even one of the races in Alaska. The beauty is in the variety.

    A variety of open water enthusiasts have contributed to our 2013 open water issue. Author and swimmer David McGlynn writes about swimming across Death’s Door in Lake Michigan. He makes the excellent point that many open water swims start with a group of people standing on a shoreline looking toward a distant shoreline with an adventurous eye.

    It’s no doubt that a sense of adventure led USMS members Roberta St. Amour and Denise Stapley to audition for the 25th season of Survivor, set in the Philippines. Their stories are in “Swimming Life” on page 6. Also in Swimming Life, Patricia Sener and her Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers turn adversity into adventure as they recover from Superstorm Sandy, finding ways to help others in the process.

    Helping others is a mantra in the marathon swimming world, and successful swimmers consider it a point of pride to extend a hand and pay it forward. Contributing writer Elaine K. Howley, an accomplished marathoner and Triple Crown swimmer herself, has always admired the pioneering women who preceded her. In “Splashback,” on page 48, she looks at the accomplishments of the legendary Florence Chadwick and how she inspired others.

    Inspirational is often used to describe pro triathletes and USMS members Jarrod Shoemaker and Sara McLarty, both of whom are featured in this issue.

    However you like your open water, enjoy it, protect it, and help others enjoy it. You don’t have to live near the coast or travel to an exotic locale, although it’s a great way to spend a vacation. There are many lakes and rivers in landlocked states that are plenty exciting to swim in. There’s something special about being in natural waters, and it’s even more special when you share the experience with the people in your life who matter.

    Updated September 8th, 2014 at 05:43 PM by Editor

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    Staff Blogs
  5. Open Water Swimming - some thoughts and a warning

    by , March 8th, 2012 at 08:26 PM (Nobody Special)
    I read through a good portion of the current issue of "Swimmer" today and was impressed with the fact that 9/10s of the articles were about open water swimming. When I was much younger I competed in a few triathalons and other than those few events I haven't had much experience in open water swimming. To be honest - were it not for the swimming portion of triathalons I wouldn't have done so well. So I think its something I'd like to try now that I'm older - BUT...

    I have no idea where to start in getting prepared for one of these things. As a kid, when I was doing triathalons it was easy. I was a distance swimmer and needed no prep whatsoever - all I needed to do was add running and biking to my regular routine. Now - some 25 years later I think I need to figure some stuff.

    No thanks to "Swimmer" Magazine though - which had no articles geared toward someone who wants to get started in this. Looks like I'm on my own there....

    One other thing - I have spent the last 22 years of my life in a career that involves rescue in the maritime environment. I am a bit perplexed that not much was stressed in the way of safety in open water swimming. This is definately something that should never be done alone and I must say that other than the advertisment for the "swimmer buddy" at the end, the magazine failed in stressing the importance in making yourself visable to boaters. Unfortunately I HAVE recovered dead bodies from the water that were the result of a boater not seeing a swimmer. I realize that in an actual event the safety of swimmers is tantamount but those training for it on their own need to be very careful.
  6. Family (March-April 2012)

    by , March 1st, 2012 at 01:00 AM (SWIMMER Editorials)
    While gathering articles and information for our annual open water issue, I was struck by the sense of community in the world of open water swimming. As vast as the world’s waters are, the passionate group of swimmers who inhabit them seems like a small family.

    Many open water swimmers, particularly marathon swimmers, know each other well. They share tips, exchange advice and accompany one another on long training swims. They reminisce over swims from the past and dream up great swims for the future. They are also competitive. In this issue, Elaine K. Howley, an experienced marathoner herself, looks at the how challenges are thrown down in “Farther, Faster, Colder, First.”

    As in all families, the members don’t always agree on everything. This issue’s “Both Sides of the Lane Line” presents two views of the media’s role in the open water world. Both are well thought-out and both convey the passion these swimmers feel for their sport.

    And whether arguing or agreeing, this open water family is always happy to share. When we needed some advice about what marathoners use to prevent chafing and protect their skin, several greatly respected swimmers shared their secrets. (See “What the Experts Do” in “Swim Bag.”)

    Learning from those who have swum before is deeply ingrained in the family. It’s as though swimmers undergo a transformation once they’ve tackled cold water, jellyfish and fatigue. They’re grateful for help along the way, and want the cycle to continue. Laura Jones interviewed Craig Lenning about his North Channel swim for “Swimming Life,” and he repeats the mantra we’ve heard from so many of these amazing athletes: Pay it forward.

    One family member who does that on a daily basis is Steven Munatones. He might seem like the godfather of this family, but he’s really more like the Kevin Bacon of open water swimming—only with one or two degrees of separation, rather than six—from everyone else. It’s become nigh impossible to research, reference, quote, edit or write anything about open water swimming without coming across one of his creations: the Daily News of Open Water Swimming, Openwaterpedia, Oceans Seven and many more.

    Munatones penned two of the articles in this issue: the technique feature, "Open Water Feeding” and “Splashback” on how marathon swimming became an Olympic event. His new book, “Open Water Swimming,” is reviewed in “Swimming Life.” His passion for the sport and for recognizing the accomplishments of the rest of the family comes through in everything he does.

    Updated July 1st, 2014 at 11:49 AM by Editor

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