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!

Monday, November 7, 2016

I Vote We Go In !!

There was a lot of head-shaking going on at West Neck Beach yesterday morning, as one by one we would-be November swimmers arrived for our planned 10:45 "in-the-water" swim....It was a gloriously sunny day, the air temperature a moderate 53 degrees, but an 18 mph northwesterly wind was pushing up two-foot whitecapped waves that washed chillingly over our feet as we dithered at the water’s edge about what to do...what to do? We weren’t worried so much about the water temperature (52 degrees? 53?) as about what that wind would feel like on the back end of our swim when/if....

Finally, newly minted Polar-Podders Lider Raynor and Pedro Xavier Palacios – already in their wetsuits – announced that they were going in anyway, while Gae Polisner, Annmarie Kearney-Woods and I had quietly tumbled into the "NOT!" column as we stood there shivering in the wind....And then Gae made that crack about how "Hillary Clinton would be ashamed of us," which got me tugging off my sweatpants and t-shirt and pulling on my wetsuit...Not for Hillary herself (although I will be voting for her tomorrow), but for the recognition of what it has taken for a woman – finally– to be actually on the brink of possibly becoming the next president of the United States of America; and for the remembrance that every season, it is we women of the West Neck Pod who are always the first in and the last out, and if November 6th wound up being the last swim of this 2016 season, that would be the end of that tradition! So ultimately there were five of us Polar Podders (with our wounded sister Joye Brown on the beach taking pictures) who edged our way into the breathtakingly chilly water yesterday morning, and who emerged an exhilarating half hour later, smiling and happy and ineffably proud of ourselves and each other. Thank you, Lider, Pedro, Gae, Annmarie, and Joye (and Eleanor Roosevelt) for always encouraging and enabling me to do the thing I think I cannot do.

Please go out and vote tomorrow. See you in the Salt...


  1. Words echoed..."But for the recognition of what it has taken for a woman – finally– to be actually on the brink of possibly becoming the next president of the United States of America"....This is so true this was ones an impossibility.

  2. need to take precautions on open water swimming