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, September 7, 2013

"Open Water 101"....

Orientation on the beach (photo by Gae Polisner)
The West Neck Pod’s first formal "‘Newbies’ Intro to the Open Water" was a splashing success today, with nearly a dozen novitiates gaining or honing their open-water chops under the watchful guidance of seasoned Pod "mentors," who buddied up with newbies one-on-one and accompanied them as far as their skill, comfort level and endurance permitted. The newbies ranged in age from 10 to 60, and their bright yellow caps dotted the water all the way from the dock to the Sailboat (to which three of the newbies actually ventured with their mentors alongside!). The weather could not have been more accommodating, and the newbies were treated to bright warm sun, clear blue skies, and sparkling clear water, with just a light wind rolling in gentle waves from the west (and relatively few of the nibbling brine shrimp that had been plaguing swimmers earlier in the week – most of which were concentrated around Gae today, to hear her tell it!).

Congratulations to our new "newbies" Jonathan Zeit, Gina Foglia, Anthony Sarchiapone, Amy Baker, Chris Nugent, Miriam, Alexis Napoli, Sarina Napoli and Dana and returning newbies Peter Dennin and Merry Lewin; and many, many thanks to the Pod members who volunteered as mentors: Joye Brown, Gae Polisner, Annmarie Kearney-Wood, Bonnie Millen, Margot Edlin, Dana Termini, Will Spencer, Jamie Scholfield, Joan Addabbo, Tony Alizzi, Nancy Reycraft, Karen Barbosa, Rob Todd, and Rob Ripp (with special thanks to Dana Termini for providing the delicious tea and snacks afterwards, and to Rob Todd for his early morning deployment of the foot-saving Floating Pod Sandal Station!).

The morning’s activities were documented and photographed by Sylvia King-Cohen and Heather Walsh of Newsday, which is planning a story on open-water swimming (though it probably won’t appear until next April, they warn us). Their unobtrusive presence, thoughtful questions, and obvious admiration for what we do "out there" made them welcome visitors and earned them both honorary Pod-member status (though we’re hoping that Heather, a swimmer herself, will eventually come out and join us in the Salt as a full-on member of the ever-growing West Neck Pod).

There are still two weeks left of summer and plenty of open-water swimming time left in this 2013 season....Hope to see today’s "newbies" in the Salt again soon! Next group swim: tomorrow morning at 8:00!
Heather Walsh captures Carole Wickham in the morning light

Sylvia King-Cohen of Newsday
"My" newbie, Chris Nugent

The 2013 "FPSS"
Newbies Miriam and Chris

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