DISCLAIMER: Open-water swimming is inherently dangerous. Open-water swimmers risk drowning, hypothermia, hyperthermia, heart attacks, panic attacks, cramping, jelly fish stings, fish bites, boat or jet-ski collisions, collisions with floating or submerged objects (including other swimmers), and other calamities that can be injurious, disabling or fatal! The "West Neck Pod" is an informal association of open-water swimmers who swim "outside the lines" with no lifeguard protection, it has no formal membership, organizational structure or legal identity, and its participants, including the author of this blog, make no representations and assume no liability with respect to its group open-water swims. All swimmers who participate in West Neck Pod group open-water swims do so at their own risk. Be careful out there!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Swim Deemed "Too Scary"!

Well, the headline for this morning's aborted open-water swim should read, "Halloween Swim Deemed 'Too Scary'!" As you know, I'm not particularly spooked by a little wave-action, but there was a wicked squall bearing down on West Neck Beach this morning, with a southeasterly wind howling across the water and roiling up white-caps as it met the incoming tide. The sky was dark and brooding over the water, and then the rain began, even as the sun was burning through the clouds further west. It was altogether a weird and spooky scene!

I may be getting senile, as Nancy Lipira says, but I'm not CRAZY, so I finally gave up the ghost and headed for the Y, joined by Tim Sullivan, who agreed with me that this Halloween swim promised too much "trick" and too little "treat"! As for tomorrow, the weather forecast is looking a little better, so it may be worth a try. If you have insulated booties and/or gloves (I just bought mine this week), you might want to bring them....That water felt COLD this morning! Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Last Swim of 2009 -- But Who Knew?

For those who come out for open water swimming principally for the thrill of seeing Ken perform his morning ablutions on the beach, I'm sorry to announce that the thrill is gone....The showers are turned off and West Neck is now a "dry" beach. The water is still very swimmable, though -- once you get over the "brain freeze" when your face first hits the water. Ken Longo and I had a challenging swim out to the buoy this morning, as we were swimming against a brisk southerly wind and an outgoing current, but that made the ride back in a breeze! LOTS of moon jellies in the water...or were those ice cubes?? FYI -- It's still pitch dark at 6:30 these days, so weekday open-water swims may be over for the season. That's not true for Alphonse, however, who was already there and swimming in the total darkness by the time Ken and I arrived at the beach. He was coming out just as we were getting in -- I don't know if he's brave or crazy, but I give him a lot of credit for being out there day after day! I'm away this weekend so no swimming for me....See you next week. Bob Miller: Happy 60th Birthday in Bermuda, and congratulations on what I know will be a fabulous race!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Rob Todd Goes "Commando"

The water at West Neck Beach was still shrouded in a dense fog at 8:00 this morning, but at least it was warmer than it had been on Friday -- the air temperature was a practically-tropical 63 degrees and the water temperature probably somewhere around 60 degrees....Ken and I were joined in the swim (from beach to buoy?-what-buoy? and back) by Jim Imhof (making his 2009 debut in October swimming), and the Roger Clemens of open-water swimming, Rob Todd, who announced his retirement from OWS last Tuesday, and came out of retirement on Sunday to round out our foursome.

Little did we know, Rob had nothing on under that wetsuit, as we learned when he emerged from the water at the end of the swim, stripped-off wetsuit strategically wrapped around his nether regions, and commenced backing carefully out of the water towards the showers (I assume in deference to me, the only woman there). I swear, there is never a camera around when you need one! Nevertheless, that is an image that will live in my memory long into my rocking-away-on-the-porch-of-the-old-folks'-home days. Rob's unabashed comment: "You have no idea how good that felt!" That of course prompted Ken (the former and now-dethroned King of Naked on the Beach) to propose that we all shun bathing suits for a truly natural OWS group swim -- sometime next season, I'm guessing. Stay tuned for posts of a Pod-wide skinny-dip....Or not! Swimming again Wednesday? Anyone?

Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2, 2009 OWS

Chilly, chilly morning down on the beach at West Neck today! The air temperature was probably a good 20-25 degrees colder than the water temperature (which is definitely on its way down, too!), and just at the surface of the water there was a layer of mist as the cold air met the warmer water....It was beautiful and a little mystical. The pictures from my cell-phone camera don't really do it justice, but you can see it if you look really closely. The water itself was beautiful -- clean, clear, not too cold, and just enough movement to make it interesting.

Ken, Chris and I swam out to the buoy and back on an incoming tide. Chris says this may be his last swim of the season; Ken and I are still holding out to see what the weekend will be like. Maybe we'll go again Sunday morning, if the weather holds out and it doesn't rain! Low tide will be at 5:42, so an 8:00 swim will give us an incoming middle-tide. It's still beautiful out there, Swimmers! See you in the water...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"The Water-Log" - October 1, 2009

I must say, I greatly enjoyed Bob & Ken's "my-pool's-better-than-your-pool" exchange, but not nearly as much as Rob Martell's hilarious response! I hope they take him up on his proposal - and I want a front-row seat! As far as I'm concerned, though, no pool can compare to open water, as I was reminded again this morning when I ventured to the Y as part of my transition back to indoor swimming. I love the Y (even though Ken's right and the water is too warm!), but in a pool you can only go so far and then you have to stop and turn around again....And then there are the other swimmers -- lots of them! The best thing about open-water swimming is that the faster swimmers are always in front of me and the slower swimmers are always behind me! So for me, the pool will be where I go to practice swimming, and the ocean will be where I go to swim....which is what I plan to do tomorrow (Friday) morning at West Neck at 6:30 with Ken, Chris and Jim (Carole's face is still swollen like a chipmunk's so she's still on the disabled list and won't be joining us). But FYI, if I get there and it's f-f-f-f-reezing, I'm n-n-not s-s-s-s-s-wimming....!