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, April 19, 2013

Spring hopes eternal....

Gae and Annmarie at WNB for an April swim
Spring officially arrived nearly a month ago but Winter’s chill still lingers in the air...and the water -- the temperature of which has been creeping up far more slowly than the now abundant Spring flowers. Despite the unseasonably cool temperatures, though, the West Neck Polar Pod has proclaimed the 2013 Open-Water-Swimming Season officially open, with what has now become weekly open-water swims! The next immersion is planned for Sunday, April 21st, at 1:00 p.m., when it is hoped that the water will have warmed even more from its current 45 degrees! Pod-hardies are invited to join us, but unless you’re Canadian (hi, Rob!) -- or one of the CIBBOWS crew that swim year-round in just bathing suit, cap and goggles -- full wetsuits, double caps, and insulated booties and gloves are highly recommended! Cheerleaders, spectators and gawkers are also welcome!

Of concern to all of us now and when the season does finally get into full swing is the vast amount of debris dredged into the water by the unprecedented tidal surges caused by Hurricane Sandy – including houses, boats, docks, refrigerators, hot tubs, oil tanks and god-knows-what. Now, more than ever, we will need to be vigilant about what’s in, on and under the water...

Speaking of safety, if you don’t already have your "SaferSwimmer" Flotation Buoys, you can purchase yours directly by emailing WestNeckPod@verizon.net. Or, if you prefer delayed gratification, you can still order your buoy by phone from the International Swimming Hall of Fame, which produces and promotes these potentially life-saving devices. Be smart...be safe! (For more information, visit the ISHOF website at http://www.ishof.org/safety/ssd.htm.)

For those of you who haven’t heard, the Third Annual Huntington/Cold Spring Harbor 1- and 2-Mile Swim (a/k/a "The West Neck Swim") will take place on Sunday, June 23rd at West Neck Beach. The registration site is not on-line yet, and we are still working on updating our website and Facebook page, but keep checking for details – whether you plan to swim, spectate, or volunteer! (http://westneckswim.com/; https://www.facebook.com/WestNeckSwim).

"Team West Neck Pod" with its commemorative plaque
And while you have your calendars out, Saturday, August 10th is the date of the annual "Sound-to-Cove" Swim Across America, when hundreds of open-water swimmers will be swimming 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 5K or 10K distances to raise money for local cancer research. Last year, 15 members of the West Neck Pod swam a 5K as part of "Team West Neck Pod" and raised more than $19,000 to fight cancer. With many of our Pod members being cancer survivors themselves, and nearly all of us having lost friends, family members or co-workers to this disease, this fight is PERSONAL! This year, we hope to double the size of our Team as we continue to fight cancer, stroke by stroke by stroke. Join our team or donate at: http://www.swimacrossamerica.org/site/TR/OpenWater/NassauSuffolkteam_id=4570&pg=team&fr_id=1956.

For years, Pod members have talked about having an informal "Introduction to Open-Water-Swimming" workshop for swimmers who are new to the open water, and who could benefit from the experience and advice of seasoned open water swimmers. If you are interested in participating in such a workshop (at your own risk, of course!), either as a "newbie" or a mentor, send an email to westneckpod@verizon.net. Who knows, if there’s enough interest, this could be the year we make it happen!

Oh...and Happy Birthday to Huntington Masters Swimmers ("HUMS") team leader and blogographer Mike Engel!  

See you in the Salt!

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