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 29, 2011

Taking the forecast with a grain of Salt...

As I sit here cozily ensconced in my favorite armchair writing this blogpost, the outside temperature is 34 degrees and a cold rain is falling, mixed with occasional sleet and even snowflakes, though it’s only late October. Mindful of the dismal forecast, I probably would have slept in this morning, but Annmarie Kearney-Wood’s urgent early morning text-message: "I’m coming but I might be late – don’t leave without me!" precipitated me out of bed and into preparations for yet another open-water swim – my 102nd of the season, yesterday’s late-afternoon swim with Annmarie having been my 101st. Happily, we arrived at West Neck Beach before the temperature plummeted and the first icy drops began to fall.  As the last several years have taught me, these late-season swims are often lonely affairs, and Annmarie and I now seem to be the only holdouts, Gae having passed up yesterday’s swim on receiving reports of the dwindling water temperature, Carole sidelined by her shoulder injury, Joye still nursing her broken ankle, and "the boys" having dropped off the radar altogether (Rob Martell, of course, excepted).

In this late-season, Annmarie has become my new Pod hero – having blossomed from a timid, tentative newcomer last year to a seasoned, fearless open-water swimmer, who adroitly finds the adventure in every challenge, whether it be whitecapped waves or 49-degree water...which she keeps assuring me "doesn’t feel that cold"! With my doubled-up bathing caps and insulated booties and gloves, I have to agree, but I am surprised to find Annmarie (who, by the way, is roughly half my size with no discernable body fat) so willing to push the envelope, and "to keep swimming outside as long as I possibly can." Humbled by Annmarie’s willingness to embrace the cold water, I’ve stopped shrieking like a girl when I first get in, so I too can focus instead on how, after only a few strokes, the bracingly cold water becomes supportive and invigorating and thrilling and beautiful, and I feel so lucky to be out here, one with the water and the waves and the clouds and the sky...Annmarie is right, this open-water swimming season is not over yet....not today, anyway...See you in the Salt!

1 comment:

  1. This is a good reminder. Here in Minnesota, I see people use salt excessively all the time. Even this winter, when we’ve had very little snow, I see salt covering the sidewalks all the time. Not good for the environment.