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, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Our official season opener on Saturday morning saw a dozen swimmers hit the still-chilly but deliciously invigorating waters of Cold Spring Harbor, in a somewhat aimless swim southward, the yellow racing buoys we’ve affectionately dubbed the "South Buoy" and "North Buoy" being still conspicuously absent (as detailed in my blogpost from that date at http://thewater-blog.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-2016-ows-season-begins.html)....

Margot Edlin
By Sunday morning, though, the buoys were miraculously restored, and an even larger cadre of swimmers happily plied their way from buoy to buoy in water that to my bare arms may even have been a teensy bit warmer than the day before. Back in the Salt on Sunday for the first time this season were, among others, Margot Edlin, whose Facebook pictures I’ve purloined to post here, having forgotten my otherwise ubiquitous camera – an omission probably habituated by my more recent Polar Pod excursions where cold-numbed, gloved fingers were useless for operating the camera’s tiny buttons.

Joanna Grossman
Also back – for what it turns out may be one of her last swims with the West Neck Pod – was Joanna Grossman, who announced that she and her husband and fellow law professor Grant will shortly be relocating with their family to Dallas, where fabulous new teaching jobs await them, but Salt water will be in short supply. I’m so sad to see Joanna leave – and not only because she’s been an integral and longstanding member of "Team West Neck Pod" for our annual cancer-fighting "Sound-to-Cove" Swim Across America! We’ll miss you, Joanna, and wish you and your family much happiness in the Big D.

Joanna may be leaving, but back in the Salt for the start of her fourth season with the West Neck Pod, and now signed up for her second stint as a member of Swim Across America’s "Team West Neck Pod," was Merry Lewin – who started her training on Sunday for her first 5K swim with the Team!

Welcome back, too, to Polar Podders Annmarie Kearney-Wood (who will soon have her daughter Missy married off and can then return to compulsive open-water swimming if we can overcome her recent Cross-Fit obsession) and Tony Alizzi (whose chiseled Roman good looks seem only to have been enhanced by his recent faceplant on a Manhattan street), as well as to Rob Todd, Marc Leahy, Joan Addabbo, Gary Baker, Denise Tirino and everyone else who was there whose name or face I can’t quite conjure up now. (Oh, and a hearty Pod-welcome to Denise’s gutsy friend "Josee," an open-water newbie whose caring and concern for Denise – who was temporarily hung up and struggling to make headway "out there" against the outgoing tide -- managed to overshadow her own fear and anxiety...That’s what makes us a Pod...Just sayin’...).

Julia, Connor and Gabby
Though I’d optimistically planned to fete the Memorial Day swimmers with bagels and coffee, the weather forecast for Monday turned out to be accurate, and the rain that fell periodically throughout the night was still soaking Huntington by the time I posted on Facebook that the day’s swim was cancelled. Even though I'd officially cancelled the swim because of the then-pelting rain, I couldn't resist heading down to the beach anyway, because even though I wasn't planning to swim, I still like to look and see what I’m missing....I wasn't expecting to find any swimmers there, so I decided to bring bagels and coffee for the lifeguards instead, who have been so patient with us swimmers and so tolerant of our annoying habit of thronging the beach- house and overhang and taking over every inch of bench space every weekend morning...The lifeguards were there (Julia, Connor and Gabby), and, to my great surprise, so were Marc Leahy, Stephen Leung and Pete Ventura, already suited up and ready to get into the water (with Pete’s wife Vicki watching from the bench)! The rain, of course, had stopped completely by then, so Daisy-Mae and I walked the beach as Pete, Marc and Stephen swam first to the North Buoy and then made their way towards the South Buoy. Midway through their swim the sun started to peek through the clouds, and I felt a twinge of regret – I wonder if this is what it’s like to be a meteorologist! Daisy and I left before they returned, but I hope the lifeguards shared some coffee and bagels with them!
Daisy Mae
This week of spiking summer-like temperatures holds the promise of much warmer water this coming weekend, when I hope that I’ll see the rest of you back in the Salt for the first group swims of June!

Scheduled weekday morning group swims will begin next week, most likely on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 6:30 and Friday mornings at 8:00 – but please feel free to share your swim plans with your fellow swimmers by email or on Facebook:   (https://www.facebook.com/WestNeckPod/?fref=nf).

Summer’s coming! See you in the Salt!

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