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, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend: "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad"!

After a hurricane-ravaged fall, a seemingly interminable winter, and the unseasonably cold "spring-that-never-was," a spate of summer-like days early in the week and glowing forecasts for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend -- historically the unofficial start of the open-water-swimming season -- gave hope of better days to come.  So when the skies began clouding over toward the end of the week, a relentless rain began falling, the temperature plummeted back down to the 40's, and the forecast became as gloomy as the views outside our windows, the hopes of the Salt-deprived West Neck Pod for an imminent return to the open water and "normality" floundered....When the weekend finally arrived, Saturday morning's steady rain, 20 mph winds, and 43-degree air temperatures kept all but the "lunatic fringe" off the beach (Marc Leahy, Paul Coster and I) -- and even we lunatics wouldn't venture into the frigid, roiling waters.  
On Sunday, though, the sun finally broke through the clouds and the air temperature crept up to the mid-50's, though the northwest wind aided by the incoming full-moon tide continued to hurl up monstrous waves and the water temperature had dropped back down to 50 degrees (from 57 the weekend before!).   Although a larger crowd of would-be swimmers had gathered in the parking lot, wisdom and self-preservation prevailed, and ultimately only six of us actually ventured into the water -- Marc Leahy, Tim Sullivan, newbie-but-now-confirmed-Podder Bill Byers, Liz Perlstein and I, followed by latecomer Rob Martell.
The turbulent, churning, crazy-high waves made it impossible to find a rhythm for swimming or even breathing, and while "the boys" powered their way as far as the White Rock, Liz and I were content to swim just to the end of the Bath Club and back -- though I believe we covered as much distance vertically as horizontally, as we swam doggedly from the trough of one huge wave to the crest of the next! 

Tim Sullivan

Liz, Marc and Bill

When Memorial Day finally arrived, blue skies and a light wind greeted the nearly two-dozen swimmers and cheerleaders who turned out to inaugurate the season.  Though the water was calmer than it had been the preceding two days, and it looked like a "beach day," it was still breezy and cool, and the water temperature was still unseasonably cold at only 55 degrees. That feels even colder when you're used to practically tropical pool temperatures, as Joan, Margot, Eric, Marco, Pam, Steve and others discovered when they gamely waded in, then quickly waded out again, wisely deciding to defer their 2013 open-water debuts until the water temperature crept northward a few more degrees!  The rest of us -- Marc, Paul, EJ, Gae, Joye, Tim, Annmarie, Denis, Rob Todd, Sharon and I (anyone else I left out?) swam northward to the yellow sign or beyond it to the white rock, then returned happily to the beach to bask in the sunshine and share bagels, coffee and plans for next weekend's open-water swims!

After several days of near-90-degree temperatures, we can expect the water to be at least in the mid-60's by the weekend -- the first weekend in June!....Group swims are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8:00...See you in the Salt!

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