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!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Channelling" Summer....

I claim "Mount West Neck" for the Pod...!
With this so-called Winter officially behind us, the West Neck "Polar Pod"* gleefully proclaimed "April" the new "June" and commenced regular weekend swims early last month. As the water continued to warm throughout the month (the temperature having climbed to the high 50s before the recent cold, rainy spell sent it plummeting again), we gradually shed layers of protective gear and lengthened our distances – first celebrating our return to the "yellow sign," then "nearly to the Sailboat." Now that May is here, it seems that others are starting to take notice of Summer’s approach. New mountains of sand recently arrived on the beach at West Neck, to be lavishly spread over the waterfront a day later to cover the myriad pesky rocks the winter’s erosion had exposed – dreaded nemesis of swimmers’ delicate feet! The bathrooms have now been cleaned and readied for business (ahem), and Lars Olsen from the Town’s Waterfront Management Division assures me that the showers will be reinstalled the week before Memorial Day (no sooner, he says, because of concerns about vandalism). It’s only a matter of time before the "Polar Pod" melts back into the Pod-at-large, and we declare the 2012 open-water swimming season officially open!

But the water temperature this week still has not edged above 53 degrees, which means that conditions are "perfect" for visiting stranger and gonna-be English Channel swimmer John Mqemane Collingwood, who announced via Facebook that he will be in the area from May 10-15 training for his July Channel crossing and is looking to join a group for a few "long swims"....After some extended e-mail exchanges, the first West Neck Pod "group" swim is now fixed for Friday, May 11th, at 5:30 p.m., and stalwart Polar Podder Marc Leahy has promised to accompany John for at least a mile and a half of the four-mile training swim that John is contemplating, with Rob Martell and Paul Coster also "definite maybes." John, who’s been training most recently in Florida, in 78-degree water, will undoubtedly find our 25-degree-colder water helpful for acclimating to the English Channel temperatures, but his first immersion – in nothing but a bathing suit, cap and goggles per Channel rules – is bound to be a shocker! If you’re game, or curious, come join us at West Neck Beach on Friday afternoon – in the water or on the shore! (Wetsuits, double caps, insulated gloves and booties still recommended for the rest of us mere mortals...!) See you in the Salt!
White Cliffs of Dover 3 (Piotr Kuczynski).jpg - Wikipedia

* Annmarie Kearney-Wood, Carol Moore, Carole Wickham, Gae Polisner, Joye Brown, Kathy Wickham, Marc Leahy, Paul Coster, Rob Martell, Rob Ripp, Rob Todd

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