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!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On "Wimps" and "Wusses" and the West Neck Pod....

Since yesterday's blogpost, there've been a flurry of emails and Facebook posts, some defensive, some jibing, expostulating on who is and is not a "wimp" or a "wuss" -- or just plain crazy! -- for swimming or not swimming in this late OWS season....It's all good-natured, of course, but it also all misses the point, which is that every single one of us who ever steps off the beach and into the open water is a hero, every single time....The open water is a realm that is populated as much by fear as by the real dangers that inhabit it: rough waves, raging currents, hungry fish, speeding boats, submerged obstacles, descending fog, stinging jellyfish, exhaustion, disorientation, aloneness -- and open-water swimming is not only physical exercise but an exercise in mastering fear and pushing beyond our physical and emotional comfort levels.  Those levels are as individual as the astonishingly diverse universe of people who are drawn to the open water, including those of the West Neck Pod. 

Whether you stopped swimming in early September, when the water temperature dropped below 70, or in early October when it dropped below 60, or are still swimming when it's dropped to below 50, you are still doing something that most people -- even most swimmers -- find unimaginable. So for all the good-natured teasing about wusses and wimps, I want to go on record as saying that there are no wimps or wusses in the West Neck Pod, and you are ALL my heroes, every day, every time!  See you in the Salt!


  1. Great post Carol! I just have to say, as an outsider, that everyone who gets in the ocean to swim is amazing.

    I envy all of you!


  2. Thanks, Irene and Christine...You are always invited to join us in the Salt, but there are heroes everywhere... :)

  3. I would just like to say that Annmarie and I just got out of the salt an hour ago. That is all. :)