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, June 23, 2012

Get Ready, Get Set....!

Friday morning's flock of swimmers were disappointed to find pockets of "yuk" coalescing around the swim lines at West Neck Beach as we entered the water for a low-tide early morning swim. The air was hazy and heavy, and the past days' torrid temperatures had cranked the water temperature up to an almost uncomfortable 75 degrees.  But once out past the "yuk," the water largely cleared, with only an occasional seaweed encounter, and Carole, Marc, Kathy, Susan, Karen, Brett and I enjoyed a lovely swim between the north and south buoys, with our faithful companion Cammy accompanying us on her paddleboard. 


Sue (a/k/a mother of the bride-to-be Kaitlyn!)

By the time we returned to the beach, a cadre of Town workers had finished raking the sand, clearing it of all debris in preparation for Sunday's race, and the floating sludge at the swim lines had vanished with the outgoing tide.  The haze and heat remained, though, and by afternoon, a wave of thunderstorms settled over the Island, rattling windows and dumping torrents of rain on and off throughout the day and night. 
Saturday morning dawned crisp and clear, the heat and humidity gone and the air brilliant and sparkling. Even the water seemed scrubbed clean by the storms, and the temperature had dropped to a comfortable 72 degrees. A dozen-plus swimmers converged on the beach for the 8:00 group swim, unabashed by concerns about runoff contamination, although the lifeguards informed us that a health advisory had been issued for all Suffolk County beaches because of yesterday's rain and that West Neck Beach was officially closed. We swam anyway, though a stiff northwesterly wind made the swim to the Sailboat harder and slower than the outgoing tide might have suggested. It was a fun, rollicking swim, though, and a bunch of us lingered for a long time at the Sailboat chatting before we headed south for the relatively swift trip back.

"First-wave" swimmers Frank, Tony, Larry and two friends whose names I'll get next time

The West Neck Pod dressing room


Magda returning from the Sailboat
Tonight, West Neck Swim organizers will be convening on the Beach to begin setting up for tomorrow's Swim -- carting in tables and chairs and hospitality supplies, blowing up turn buoys, testing radios, filling sandbags, etc. The rest of the setup will be completed early tomorrow morning, when the gates are opened at 5:30 to welcome our officials, lifeguards and kayakers and the rest of our many volunteers, and -- by 7:00, our 238 swimmers and their supporters and friends. The Second Annual Huntington/Cold Spring Harbor 1 and 2 Mile Open-Water Swim is on its way to becoming even more successful than last year's inaugural swim!  Ready, set...See you in the Salt!

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