October swimming at Promontory Point

In case you missed them on my Twitter feed, here are a couple videos I took at Sunday’s group swim at the Point. A few intrepid souls will continue swimming into November, but for many this was the last swim until spring. The air was chilly that morning – about 50F – and the water not much warmer at 58. But the main obstacles to swimming were the strong northerly swells, reaching up to 6 feet once you got away from the rocks.

Five of us (or so) got in for a short swim, but it was a little too wild for a trip to the pier. Ruth-Anne, the star of these videos, arrived later which allowed me to document her adventure from the comfort of warm clothes.

Enjoy:

2011 USMS Open-Water Championships

The schedule of 2011 USMS open-water national championships is now available. I did the “grand tour” this year – and it was fun – but I had no plans to replicate it next year. Unfortunately, this schedule makes it look as if USMS is trying to prevent people from doing them all:

  • June 12 – 10K – Fort Myers, FL
  • June 18 – 25K – Noblesville, IN
  • June 25 – 5K – Coney Island, NY
  • July 3 – 1 mile – Sweet Home, OR
  • August 13 – 2-mile (cable) – Lake Placid, NY
  • August 20 – 2.4-mile – Madison, WI

That’s right – 4 of the 6 national championships are on four consecutive weekends! Even better, the marathon, ultra-marathon, and half-marathon distances (10K, 25K, and 5K) are on three consecutive weekends.

Some other interesting co-incidences (in the literal sense), especially relevant to marathon swimmers:

For open-water swimmers, it always seems like the days of summer are too few. This really takes that sentiment to an entirely new level!

A long, cold swim

In order to apply for a spot in the 25-person field of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, one must have recent, documented cold-water marathon swimming experience. In practice, that means either a channel crossing (English or Catalina) or a completion of one of NYC Swim’s two ultra-distance events (MIMS itself or the 17.5-mile Ederle Swim).

Otherwise, one can do an “observer documented qualifying swim” – which in the case of MIMS means a 4-hour continuous swim in water 62 degrees F or colder.

Was I ready for a 4-hour, 62-degree swim? Not really. The longest I’d swum continuously was the Miami 10K in April (2 hours, 34 minutes in 75-degree water). The coldest I’d swum was 58 degrees, a few weeks ago at the Point – but that was only for 25 minutes. The closest thing to a “long, cold swim” I’d done was this year’s Big Shoulders – 71 minutes at 63 degrees. Then, this past Monday morning, I swam for 53 minutes in 60-degree water (2 laps of the 57th Street Beach).

But I was as ready I was going to be, given my narrowing window of opportunity. Lake Michigan had already begun its Fall turnover. Any day, a strong west wind could blow in and drop the lake into the 50’s – from which it might not return until June!

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