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, January 1, 2013

A Brisk Start to the 2013 Open-Water Swimming Season...

There was a lot of head-shaking going on in the parking lot of West Neck Beach this afternoon as one Polar Podder after another arrived for what has now become an annual event: The West Neck Pod's New Year's Day "Polar Pod" Swim!  Much to our chagrin, though, the infamous northwesterly wind had also arrived, and we were met with a distressingly choppy, wind-tossed harbor that looked as cold as the icy air that was stinging our hands and cheeks as we shivered in the wind and debated what to do. Even Annmarie Kearney-Wood, usually the gamest of us all, announced that she didn't think she'd be able to go through with the swim, though she'd driven all the way from Babylon for it.  But it was Joye Brown, already clad in her wetsuit and sporting a polar bear hat, who egged us on, ultimately cajoling us off the beach and into the water.  Five of us finally took the plunge -- Polar Pod veterans Annmarie, Joye, Rob Ripp and I, joined by novitiate Sharon Hochberg, while Cammy and Rocket cheered us on from the shore (thanks for the pictures, Cammy!).  As soon as the first icy waves rolled over us, filling our wetsuits with frigid water and scouring our exposed skin, we knew that our first open-water swim of 2013 would be a very brief one, and stayed in only long enough to catch our breath and take a few tentative strokes as icicles formed on our faces!  Then it was back to the beach to gulp down some hot chai tea, exchange New Year's hugs, and head for home to dream of an early Spring -- or the next warmish day!  Happy New Year -- see you in the Salt!


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