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!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Planning for Spring...and beyond...

The 2012 Spring Equinox is just around the corner, with Spring officially arriving on March 20th, and while the "Polar Pod" will likely be pushing the Spring envelope early, it won’t be long before we’re all back in the open water! I expect that this year’s open-water season will be better than ever, and that the swimmers of the West Neck Pod will continue to expand our inner and outer boundaries and swim farther, faster, longer and stronger than ever before... As you begin to think about this next open-water season, you might want to mark your calendar for some important upcoming dates:

The Second Annual Huntington/Cold Spring Harbor 1- and 2-Mile Swim will be taking place this year on Sunday, June 24th at West Neck Beach! Preliminary planning is already underway and we are anticipating that this year’s event will be even larger and more successful than last year’s inaugural event. If you volunteered last year, we can certainly use your help and expertise again this year, and if you didn’t, then think about joining the effort this year! If you’re not able to volunteer, then please support our efforts by registering to swim, or by making a donation! The swim is a fundraiser for the Huntington YMCA’s "Swim for Kids" scholarship program, and offers 1-mile and 2-mile events with both wetsuit and nonwetsuit divisions as well as age-group events. Supporting this event will enhance the sport of open-water swimming on Long Island and raise money to teach at-risk underprivileged kids to swim. For information, contact Race Director Rob Ripp at rob.ripp@verizon.net or me (Carol Moore) at CLMooreEsq@verizon.net.

July 15th is the tentative date earmarked for a revival of the venerable "5K in the Bay" swim in Huntington Bay. The 5K is planned to be an "open" event, and there will be age-group events as well. Updated information will be available at http://www.huntswim.org.

Also coming up: The August 11, 2012 Swim Across America "Sound-to-Cove" Swim in Glen Cove, New York. This annual event is a fundraiser for local cancer research, and last year local swimmers (including five West Neck Pod members) swimming one-mile, 5K, and 10K events raised $375,000 to fight cancer. Cancer is a devastating scourge that has left virtually no family unscathed, including our own West Neck Pod family. This year, in recognition of the intensely personal nature of the fight against cancer, the West Neck Pod is organizing its own team to swim in the 26th Annual Swim Across America. We look forward to welcoming you as part of "Team West Neck Pod" and appreciate your donations of any amount! To register and/or donate, follow this link: www.swimacrossamerica.org.

You’ll find numerous other open-water swimming events in the 2012 season listed on the Aquafit Masters website at http://aquafitmasters.com/Events/Events.htm. As you contemplate participating in these and other sanctioned open-water swimming events in the 2012 season, consider registering as a proud member of the Huntington local masters swimming group, "Huntington Masters Swimmers" ("HUMS"). Last year, the membership in this local club of the US Masters Swimmers organization more than doubled, and we’d like to see it double again in this 2012 season and really put Huntington masters swimming on the aquatic map! For more information, visit the HUMS blog site at http://hums.blogspot.com.

When winter eventually succumbs to spring, and the ice has melted and the water temperature has edged up a few notches, the West Neck Pod will be back in the Salt. All are welcome to join us (at your own risk, of course!) for our weekday and weekend swims. Group swim schedules are posted on "The Water-Blog" (http://TheWater-Blog.blogspot.com) or on the West Neck Pod’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Neck-Pod/128827940504281) and via e-mail (e-mail WestNeckPod@verizon.net to add your name to the West Neck Pod contact list).
Last but not least, to help keep you safe in the open water, don’t forget to order your "SafeSwimmer" flotation buoy. These combination dry-bag/flotation buoys are lightweight and virtually drag-free, and help make you visible to boats and other watercraft. Contact Laurie Marchwinski at the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1-954-663-7472) and tell her you swim with the West Neck Pod to receive the Pod’s special free-shipping offer!

See you in the Salt -- eventually!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter Swimming Checklist: February?..."Check!"

This morning, on this fourth day of February, Annmarie Kearney-Wood, Carole Wickham and I waded into the icy water at West Neck Beach and, as soon as we could catch our breath, started swimming. It took several stops and starts -- long moments of floating with our faces out of the water before we could bear to put them back into the frigid water again.  But as with our previous winter swims, we found that eventually the cold water no longer felt so cold, and we were able to relax and settle into the familiar and welcome rhythm of the open water.  With the water temperature somewhere between 38 and 40 degrees (measured at the shoreline with a laser thermometer), we were only able to stay in for 15 minutes, but it was an exciting and memorable and totally worthwhile 15 minutes!  Of course this first February swim is partly about bragging rights, just so that we can say we did it ("We did it!"), but the Polar Pod's incipient quest to expand the open-water season from six months to twelve is turning out to be far more than that, as each time we push the boundaries of "possible" a little further and in the process change and empower ourselves....The quest resumes tomorrow, when Annmarie, Gae Polisner and Joye Brown venture into the February Salt at 1:30...See you in the Salt!

"Last one in is a rotten egg...!"

How other people (Carole's sister and brother-in-law Loretta and Henry Hinz) dress for the beach in February!

"Come on in, the water's f-f-f-f-ine!"