Register Now!!!

Hey LOSTies and soon to be LOSTies,

The first few keen and eager LOSTies have already signed up… so feel free to join them!  Just click on the icon on the right side of the page and feel free to register for a summer of LOST Swimming (likely starting Saturday, May 30) and/or the LOST Race (Saturday, Aug 8).

See you soon!

Cheers,

Rob

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France and the Sea Turtles!!!

This one is right up there with Miguel and Katie swimming with whale sharks this winter in Mexico… France, Pascal and their 5 daughters helped a family of 85 baby sea turtles make it from their eggs to the ocean!  Check it out… how cool is that!!!turtle 4

Here is France’s email to me from Mexico:

Yesterday morning 85 turtle eggs hatched right in front of our house in their sand nest. The manager of the property lay them there to protect them until they hatch since they are hunted and endangered. Me and Hilario dug them out one by one. It is an amazing experience. The girls and I will never forget this day. Today we are watching them and protecting them from birds and other prey and tonight we will release them in the sea at sunset. It’s just awesome.turtle 2
Just a few hours old and gaining strength, so fast to crawl to the sea. The locals save the eggs under tree trunks to protect them from crabs and thieves. Unfortunately these endangered turtle eggs are worth 25 to30$US each on the black market. People believe they have aphrodisiac properties and it’s killing the entire species. 85 eggs hatched and we put them in a cooler for the day to gain some strenght and released them at sunset. Most of them once hatched don’t make it to the sea because of birds feeding on them.  So we made sure that all 85 of them made it to the sea. Survival rate is very low even after that. Maybe 3 will survive. It was an incredible experience to dig them out of the sand and protect them all day. The girls and I are amazed by these little creatures has we wayched them open their eyes and crawl for the first time.
France
turtle 3

turtle 5

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Around the Bay, 30K!

So our Rag Tag Team was at it again doing the Bay on Sunday.  Looking at how many run this it’s the biggest race of the year for this group. Like no other race in the year  this race really gels our group and as Brian said it’s all about the friends.

image1A great race with a distance that separates the shorter distance guys from the longer. If you commit to the Bay it probably means you have a marathon or ultra trail run in your future somewhere.  Same cannot always be said about running a Half M.

Always fun trying to decide what to wear for the Bay and this year was not a disappointment. Probably In the end most of us wish we had dressed down more.  While I’m sure the old route will be prefered by most , I didn’t

hear anyone complaining at the 25km that they didn’t have to run up the valley hill.   The wind was certainly there and no doubt lots of drafting going on but couldn’t have asked for a better sunny day. As always was great to see everyone at the Gown and Gavel (thanks to Lamb for organizing).

A few PB’s and big runs yesterday. Here are the times. Sorry if I’ve missed people. This is a HUGE GROUP to keep track of:

Tyler              1.46.44  (28th out of 7277!!!  Must have been the shoes…)

Brett               2.03.38

Darren            2.07.39

AL                    2.07.57

Ron                  2.12.21

David               2.16.01

Patrick             2.17.02

Peter Rabbit   2.20.00

Scott                2.23.20

Adrian             2.23.28

Helene            2.29.03

Brian                2.31.20

Mark P             2.31.37

Kirsti                2.33.03

Rob                   2.33.48

Lamb                2.34.02

Mary St. J         2.34.41

Clara                 2.37.06

Fanny                2.47.26

 

And the rest who were either on injury recovery, had “issues” or just using the Bay as a training run to increase mileage.

Carla (just had a baby 5 months ago!), Mike, Andy, Eileen L, Mark L, Joanne, Patty, Branko, Duane, Al S.

Scott Mackinnon, Hugh, Rick and Alex didn’t run but I’m pretty sure one of them was the Grim Reaper. (or the Grim’s wife).  Nice to see “We Will Rock You” wheel chair guy (Stan) made it up the hill to take High Fives after his back surgery. Didn’t see BIG HAND BAREFOOT GUY cheering this year but I’m sure he was out there. (editor’s note: he was!)

Brett

Rob... sucking wind and running with his eyes closed!

Rob… sucking wind and running with his eyes closed!  Looks like fun…

A big shout out to our buddies from Connor’s Runner’s too, who were all over the race in orange!  (including double agents like: me, Joanne and Helene!)

RobRob, sucking wind ATB 2015, 2

 

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Announcing the new Global Swim Series!!!

Global-SS-Banner

2014 was the year of the “Canadian Open Water Swim Series” (COWSS) and 2015 will be the year of the “Global Swim Series”!

Last year a small group of open water enthusiasts, race directors and swimmers took an idea to bring together a handful of independent open water races in Canada for an inclusive Series.  We did, and it was a huge success!

About this time last year we had 3 races in the Series, The LOST Race – in Oakville, The Toronto Island Lake Swim – in Toronto and Bring on the Bay – in Ottawa.  By the end of the year there was over 15 races in the Series and several more that wanted to join for 2015.  There was even some inquiries from races from outside of Canada joining the Series!

So we got together again and came up with an even bolder idea than just having a “Canadian” Series, what if we invited races (and swimmers) from all over the globe to join in the Series?  How cool would that be!  So after a long and cold winter of hard work and planning we are proud to introduce: The Global Swim Series.

COWSS logoOUR GOAL IS TO GROW OPEN WATER SWIMMING AROUND THE WORLD.  PLAIN AND SIMPLE.  AND WITH THAT WE WANT TO GROW ALL THE POSITIVE THINGS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH IT, LIKE: A COMMON COMMUNITY OF SWIMMERS FROM COUNTRIES AROUND THE GLOBE, PROMOTE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, PROVIDE A COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR SWIMMERS, AND OF COURSE, TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN DOING IT.

The basic idea of GSS is to have new and existing open water races join the Series (see the “Sanctioning” tab for more details about how to get a race into the Series).  And after each race, the race directors will submit their photos, race report and results to us.  We will put the race reports and photos up for the rest of the swimming world to see, acting an official news source for all things GSS.  With the results, we will calculate points and rank swimmers from around the world and display them on the site as well!

For those who may not exactly be on the World Cup Swimming circuit (ie regular mortals), we have leveled the playing field by how we calculate the VDwinnerpoints.  You can earn up to 100 points per race that you swim.  Regardless of distance, wetsuit or non-wetsuit, male or female, or age group.  We give each swimmer 50 points just for participating.  The other 50 points being based on your percentile ranking in the race.  The great equalizer here is that the more races you swim, the more points you earn, and the higher your global ranking gets, allowing highly enthusiastic people to compete head to head with the highly talented.

And that is how we achieve our goal of growing open water swimming around the world.  We proved it last year.  There was a significant increase in the number of swimmers in the races included in the Canadian circuit.  Not to mention a creation a whole bunch of new races.  Our statistics showed that people really did travel from race to race to get more points, even across Canada!  Now we shift our focus and want to do the same with the rest of the globe!GSS sanctioned stamp (large)

To use the quote from the late, great Canadian Olympic gold medalist and World Record Holder, Victor Davis:  “Go big, or go Home!” and starting right here in 2015 we are going big, so come on out and be be a part of it!

Cheers,

Rob Kent

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Smokey Hollow Ice Falls!!!

See, water is even fun when it’s frozen!

Smokey Hollow Water Falls!!! (cool name for an adventure too!)

Smokey Hollow Water Falls!!!
(cool name for an adventure too!)

So it was the Family Day holiday here in Ontario and 40% of our family was around, Dylan and myself, so we thought we were up for a mini-adventure!

Rob and Dylan... set for a (mini) adventure!

Rob and Dylan… set for a (mini) adventure!

I saw fellow LOSTie, Mark Bintley’s photo’s on Facebook the day before, when he took his 5 and 7 year old kids to the Falls and it looked so cool that I thought, well if his little kids can do it, then Dylan and I should be able to!IMG_0808

Now I’m sure all the locals around here know about all these cool spots, but having only lived in the area for 19 years, these things are new to me!  So I couldn’t believe that this really cool frozen water fall was only a 20 minute drive from our house!IMG_0789

Well, Dylan and I found all kinds of odds IMG_0780and ends for winter clothing, to combat the -25C/-12F weather!  All bundled up it wasn’t that bad.  And off we went.  I won’t spoil it with a long story… when I’ve got all these awesome pictures and I even fired up the ol’ GoPro!  Have a look, there is some pretty cool shots of us climbing through the caves behind the frozen falls!!!

(okay… I realize I haven’t quite mastered the editing quite yet!  I’m workin’ on it!)… enjoy!

... oh, wait a minute... I got a text...

… oh, wait a minute… I got a text…

IMG_0804IMG_0781IMG_0787Cheers,

Rob

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Not a bad week of adventure for LOSTies… especially for the off-season!!!

So we have a pretty amazing group of LOSTies here… check out this week of adventure!   This isn’t your your average hockey or baseball or running or even open water swim team, for that matter.  We have an amazing and “eclectic” (to put it nicely!) group.  Oh, and athletic.  I guess athletic and adventurous are the ties that bind… a dose of crazy probably doesn’t hurt either.

Check out the pics below from the LOST adventures around the world!  Way to go guys!

Not bad for the off season!!!  (Lots of great stories over beers to come!)

Cheers,

Rob

1)  Katie and Miguel swimming with Whale Sharks in La Paz, Mexico last weekend!

W-Miguel-beside

2) David, Mike, Al and Andy doing the Winterlude Triathlon in Ottawa yesterday… 8k skate, 8k cross country ski and 5k run… at -24C!

3)  Madhu (and crew of Mike and Alan) about to swim the Strait of Magellan!  The southernmost tip of Chile!

Water – 5C degrees
Distance Across – 4.0 km
Distance Travelled – 9.18 km (tide pushed him sideways!)
Time – 1h 50min (incomplete)

Madhu and crew starting the swim across the Strait of Magellan.  Jan 28, 2015

Madhu and crew starting the swim across the Strait of Magellan. Jan 28, 2015

4)  Alan with sightseeing in southern Chile after Madhu’s swim… with hundreds of penguins!

… and that’s just a taste of what we do in the off-season!

Cheers,

 

Rob

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Miguel and Katie… swimming with whale sharks!!!

So Madhu, Mike and Alan aren’t the only ones having amazing aquatic adventures in cool spots around the world… so are Miguel and Katie!!!

LOSTies, Miguel and Katie are on their belated honeymoon in La Paz, Mexico… and naturally they found time to get in a bit of open water swimming… which included swimming with the largest fish in the world… the whale shark!!!

Katie and Miguels Wedding!

Katie and Miguels Wedding!

Note that the whale shark is a fish… and is commonly over 40 ft long and weighs over 66,000 lbs… but eats plankton… thankfully.

As much as I love racing and marathon swims… one of the real benefits of being a swimmer is being able to explore the water.  I really believe that people who aren’t swimmers are missing out on something incredible.

You know when you are running and you see a deer or a fox or even a rabbit, you think “cool, that made my day”… well that’s why swimming is so awesome.  Can you imagine how cool it would be to be swimming along and see a whale or a dolphin or a sea turtle or yes, even a shark?!  And it is totally different, because you are in their environment.  I’ve only swam with a few things in the wild… a few huge fish, Tarpon, in Key West… and Spotted Eagle Rays in St Martin… some dolphins in Naples, Florida… a large Grouper on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia… but I would love to swim with the whale sharks, like Katie and Miguel did.  Wow.  Some day.

That’s livin’ life.W-Miguel-beside

Check out the pics.  Have a great time, Katie and Miguel… and Congrats again!

Cheers,

RobW-Miguel--huh

from Miguel:

Yesterday, we had one of the most amazing open water swimming experiences we have ever had while swimming in our entire life.  Words can’t describe it so I will only attempt and hope that the photos give you a sense of how awesome this was. Katie and I went to La Paz looking for places to do safe open water swims and thinking about possible training camps in the future, so we asked around and found a tour by an awesome french guide named Yann and our boat captain Juan. They took us to a place not even 2 km out of the city. You could see land all around you so we jumped to have an easy swim close to shore in shallow water of the Sea of Cortés.  We were happily swimming along when a big shadow appeared from the bottom… we were swimming over one of the biggest fish known to man!  This gentle giant magically allowed us to swim beside him for about 16 minutes! Some times we had to swim very fast to keep up, some times we almost stopped. We got as close as we wanted without touching him.  Neither Katie or I had never seen one except on documentaries.  Swimming beside a whale shark is truly an incredible experience. We were really blessed with this opportunity.

Katie and the Whale Shark!

Katie and the Whale Shark!

Katie and the whale shark!

Katie and the whale shark!

W-Embrace-with-the-sharks

Cheers,

Miguel

Hey Cousin Al... this is what it feels like when you are drafting off me!  ;)

Hey Cousin Al… this is what it feels like when you are drafting off me!  :-)

no whale sharks... but Maisey and Jill had fun blowing bubbles at the wedding!

no whale sharks… but Maisey and Jill had fun blowing bubbles at the wedding!

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Unfortunately… he was pulled…

 

Madhu and crew starting the swim across the Strait of Magellan.  Jan 28, 2015

Madhu and crew starting the swim across the Strait of Magellan. Jan 28, 2015

Hi everyone,

Madhu is safe and recovering from this latest adventure.

He came out of the water after 1 hour and 50 minutes of attempting to cross.  What was supposed to be a 4 km swim, was over 9 kms by that point.  Incredible!  Strong winds kept him from the finish.

I don’t know what his path looked like, but I am looking forward to the details from Chile.   Safety is #1 and he is safe.  Stay tuned.

Tracey

 

Here’s the exact info that has been relayed about the swim:

Water – 5-6C deg – will confirm exact later
Distance Across – 4.0 km
Distance Travelled – 9.18 km (tide pushed him sideways!)
Time – 1h 50min (incomplete)

He didn’t make it all the way across… but what a swim… in water that cold! What an adventure!

Well done, Madhu Nagaraja! I’m sure it’s disappointing… but all us LOSTies are very proud of your incredible swim!!! Lots of stories to come over coffee at Bean There!

Rob

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At 8:53 EST… and he’s over half way there!

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It’s a go!!!

Here’s the latest… looks like it’s a go!!!

Morning!
The team is back at the launch site and the word was that GO time was 7:50 a.m. local time (5:50 EST) in order to catch the Slack Tide (sounds like a good idea!).

It’s on! The sun is rising and it is a beautiful morning. Madhu has tested the waters. The team is pumped, focused and ready!

The team seems to be out of the SPOT auto check in range, but the manual ones seem to be ok, so Mike will do his best to manually hit that checkin button.

Let’s pace together this morning, across the distances, and wrap Madhu, Mike and Alan in our positive energy.

I will also post on Madhu’s Facebook page, and keep on checkingitsnotaboutswimming.com for those SPOT check ins (fingers crossed!).

Yours in excitement,
Tracey

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To the End of the World… and back!

Hello LOSTies!

Madhu, Loren and Mark training for the Strait of Magellan... November in Ontario... air 4C... water 4C!!!  Now those guys are what LOST Swimming is all about... ADVENTURE!

Madhu, Loren and Mark training for the Strait of Magellan… November in Ontario… air 4C… water 4C!!! Now those guys are what LOST Swimming is all about… ADVENTURE!

As you have probably heard, Madhu is off to swim the Strait of Magellan at the most southern tip of Chile!!!  And we are going to have a nice “warm” send off for him this Saturday, just hours before he, Mike and Alan head off for the bottom of the World!!!

... living the dream... at Bean There!

… living the dream… at Bean There!  (okay this was take in the summer, but you get the idea!)

Location: “Bean There” cafe, (NW corner of Lakeshore and Reynolds in Oakville)

When: Saturday morning, 9:00 – 11:00ish, Jan 24, 2015

Who: LOSTies, CR’s and all well wishers!

For Whom: Madhu and his crew of Mike Morton and Alan Swankie that will be crewing for him in Chile!

Why: because Madhu, Mike, Alan, Loren, Mark, Steve, Marty, Brett, Darren and the rest of the gang deserve a nice warm drink and a pat on the back for all the hard work and training they’ve put in in the preparation for this adventure of monumental proportion!

Note: a bunch of us are moving our Saturday morning long run from JC’s Bagels to Bean There for this Saturday only, so we can run and have coffee with Madhu and the team!  If you care to join us for a run before coffee, please do!!!  We will leave from Bean There at 7:00 am sharp (just an out and back on Lakeshore going east, for as long as you want to go!)

See you there!

PS.  yes, I will keep you all posted about when he actually swims (very weather dependent!) and get all the live coverage from Mike and Alan as he swims… and put it up on this site!

Cheers,

Rob

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The 5th Annual LOST Polar Bear Dip!!!

2015 LOST Polar Bear Dip!

2015 LOST Polar Bear Dip!

Well that was fun!!!  Kind of reminded me of the LOST Beer Mile that many of the same crowd did a few months ago… more guts than brains… and way too much fun!  I like it.

And apparently so did everyone else.  Lots of nervous smiles before… and lots of squeals and goofy grins after!

Ted, Luc and Russell from Connor's Runners!  (suck it up Ted, it's not that bad... just ask your son!)

Ted, Luc and Russell from Connor’s Runners! (suck it up Ted, it’s not that bad… just ask your son!)

We had 35 dippers show up this year (up from about 25 last year, it keeps growing!)… and about the same number of supporters as dippers.  Of course, by supporters I mean friends and relatives that were too sane to dip… but weren’t going to miss a chance for a good laugh!  They were not disappointed.  We had the die-hard LOSTies, and friends of LOSTies, we had a few Connor’s Runner’s out too, we even had my son Dylan and his posse of ex-NCAA varsity swimmers up from Boston and Baltimore (note: Reed was sure to point out the “ex” part of the title, as I think some of them are feeling the transition from school to the “real world”!)… but all in all we just had a bunch of brave/stupid, fun-loving people out for a dip!!!

Cameron contemplating the cold water... Lynn, did you get him hip waders for Christmas?!

Cameron, the smart one with hip waders… Lynn, did you get him those for Christmas?!

And it was cold.  We’d had a great Christmas, nice and warm, up to +10C or so… but it didn’t hold until Jan 1.  It was only about -3C or so, but the wind took it to a very chilly -10C!  Oh… and the water?!… it was 1C.  About as cold as Lake Ontario gets, given that it doesn’t freeze over.

... everybody in!!!

… everybody in!!!

... everybody out!!!

… everybody out!!!

But at the stroke of 12 noon we all stripped down to our bikini’s and speedo’s… and with the 10 second countdown by the crowd… we all dashed in!  Darren and Brett had set up the carpet (thanks guys!) and were standing in the water waiting for us!  Mind you Darren had a 7mm wetsuit on and Brett had hip-waders on over his wetsuit, so they didn’t sew what all the fuss was about!  Most everyone just dunked and got the hell out… but I saw Miguel and Art do a few strokes, so I did too… but then there are the Polar Boys… Madhu, Mark and Loren.  They are cut from a bit different cloth.

Dylan and Comrade Michael... "here, you drink this, it will keep you warm... just like back in mother Russia!"

Dylan and Comrade Michael… “here College Boy, you drink this, it will keep you warm… just like back in mother Russia!”     (note Bruce, the KGB agent, in the background)

You see Madhu is going to swim the Strait of Magellan on about Jan 24, 2015.  And what is the Strait of Magellan, you ask?  Well it is the Strait that the great explorer, Magellan discovered to get around the tip of South America.  It is a passage through a series of

Darren:  last one in is a rotten egg!!!

Darren: last one in is a rotten egg!!!  Madhu: but Darren, no one else is here yet?

islands at the southern tip of Chile, between Chile and Antarctica.  The section of the Strait that he is going to swim is about the same distance as an Ironman swim… about 3.8 km.  And the water will be about between about 4C and 8C… so practicing in 1C water is excellent training!?!  Mark and Loren are his training partners and have been there with him all the way… swimming in this water with him that is!  2 weeks ago the 3 of them set a new record for themselves and swam for about 12 minutes in 1C water!!!  Consider most of us were in for less than 30 seconds yesterday and how that felt!!!  Also consider when they talk about the Titanic sinking that most people survived between about 5 – 10 minutes in that water… and it literally could not have been any colder!  Pretty amazing.

Madhu:  hey Marty, wake me when it's time to swim the Ice Mile...

Madhu: hey Marty, wake me when it’s time to swim the Ice Mile…

But last week Madhu tried for the Ice Mile.  Which is pretty much as it sounds… swimming 1 mile (1.6 km) in water of 5C or less.  Naturally he chose the “or less” and attempted it in 1C water, the hardest possible swim (beyond that it’s just called “skating”).  And you might think that the difference between 5C and 1C isn’t much (about 4 degrees using my math skills), but it is huge when one is swimming in it.  The difference is exponential.  To swim 12 minutes in 1C might be the equivalent of swimming 2 hours in 5C!!!  Anyway… he didn’t complete the Ice Mile.  But he did swim a total of 29 minutes and 19 seconds without stopping, for 1.2 km (easily completing the Ice Kilometer!) and was in the water for 34 minutes and 38 seconds… in 1C water!!!

But I digress.  We were really cold too.  But just not in the same ball park as Madhu, Mark and Loren!

Brett: Help... I'm up to my armpits in LOSTies!!!

Brett: Help… I’m up to my armpits in LOSTies!!!

And it all had a happy ending… we went back to our usual post-LOST swim coffee shop, Brett’s cafe “Bean There” and all warmed up and shared a few laughs.  Quite a few.  Because in the end… that’s what it’s all about.

Bruce, Liza and Vicki... more CR's having fun!

Bruce, Liza and Vicki… more CR’s having fun… in fact, Liza might not be able to wait until next year’s dip she’s having so much fun!

So with the first LOST event of the year out of the way, let me wish all you LOSTies a Happy New Year!!!  May you all have a healthy, happy, prosperous and fun 2015!!!

Darren: so Brett... how big was the fish you caught last time you wore those hip waders?

Darren: “so Brett… how big was the fish you caught last time you wore those hip waders?”    Brett: “this big!”

Special thanks to: Darren “The Neoprene Kid” Osborne, Brett & Lambrina for opening up the shop to all the LOSTies!, and Mike Morton for his awesome video and constant support for LOST and everyone else that took the great pics!

Adrian, having way too much fun!

Adrian, having way too much fun!

See you all in a few months… for the next LOST swim of the season!!!   (and I promise… it won’t be any colder than it was for the first swim of the year!)

Cheers,

Rob

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Don’t forget to vote on our World Open Water Swimming Association award nomination!!! (Dec 31 cutoff)

wowsaSo LOST Swimming has been nominated for the award for the World Open Water Swimming “Offering of the Year”!!!

And put quite simply, we win the award if we get the most votes… so on behalf of all the LOSTies out there… we’d really like your vote!!!  (and all your friends and family’s vote too!)

Click here to VOTE  (we are #6, in the 4th category of “Offerings”)

That was for the “cut to the chase” readers who just want to know what this is about and want to know how vote.  It takes 2 minutes.  And is much appreciated.

LOST Race, 2014!!!

LOST Race, 2014!!!

For anyone who is still reading, let me explain why we want and, I think, deserve your vote.

otfLogoFirst for the pragmatic reason.  We have applied for a Ontario Trillium Grant.  Which is a grant the government of Ontario gives out for all kinds of reasons and purposes, including to sports organizations.  As a swimmer, triathlete, or a friend of swimmer and a especially an open water swimmer… well, you know that most of the real world doesn’t know much about our sport.  So if we were able to put on our application that we were not some Mickey Mouse club in some obscure sport, but rather an open water swim team with recognition from around the world to such a degree that we won an award from the World Open Water Swimming Association, well I think it would help our credibility and improve the exposure of LOST Swimming and open water swimming in general.

Happy Maisey!

Happy Maisey!

And the second reason we want you to vote for us… is because it would be really cool to win!  I’m not above saying that I would be really proud to win the award.  When I started LOST Swimming in 2006 in order train for my English Channel attempt, I certainly wasn’t doing it so that 9 years later I would win a WOWSA award… but hey, I’ll take it.

66 swimmers out... for a chilly one!

66 swimmers out… for a chilly one!

To dedicate every Saturday morning from June to September… every year since 2006… one isn’t doing it for the monetary rewards (haha, every penny we make goes back into LOST Swimming by the way)… or the WOWSA awards either.  Make no mistake about it, the LOST Board and countless volunteers we’ve had over the years (thanks, btw!) do a lot of work organizing LOST Swimming, The LOST Race, The LOST Travel Team, The Canadian Open Water Swim Series and all the other events… because it is worth it.  So if we aren’t doing it for the money or fame… it must be because of the friendships, the camaraderie, the adventure… oh, and because we really like open water swimming!

The Swim Around Key West gang in 2012!!!

The Swim Around Key West gang in 2012!!!

These pictures pretty much say it all.  And all I ever wanted to do was to share that fun and adventure with other like-minded people and promote and grow the sport.  So if you think that is worth it… then take 2 minutes and vote for LOST Swimming.  Thanks.

Rob

...and ...get out!!!

…and …get out!!!

PS.  The next LOST Swim will be Jan 1, 12:00, for the Polar Bear Dip… unless you are Madhu, Mark or Loren… who are training to swim the Strait of Magellan… then the next training swim/Polar Bear Dip is tomorrow!  Way to go guys, keep the LOST Swimming name out there all around the world!  And making us LOSTies proud!

Madhu, Loren and Mark training for the Strait of Magellan... November in Ontario... air 4C... water 4C!!!  Now those guys are what LOST Swimming is all about... ADVENTURE!

Madhu, Mark and Loren training for the Strait of Magellan… November in Ontario… air 4C… water 4C!!! Now those guys are what LOST Swimming is all about… ADVENTURE!

PPS.  For the more sane LOST Swimmers… hope you had fun at the Barbados Open Water Swim Festival on the weekend!!!  Send pics and have a pina colada for me!

Barbados Swim Festival!

Barbados Swim Festival!

PPPS.  I’m of course torn about who to vote for in the other categories (actually there are lots of other worthy people and friends in our category too… Susie Dodds, Bruckner Chase, Evan Morrison, Kent Nicholas, Ned Denison… but vote for LOST anyway!)… because I know a lot of them, some are Canadian, but regardless they are all worthy… but feel like I need to give a special tip of the hat to a few: Man of the Year – Adam Walker, Colin Hill, Phil White, Joe Locke and fellow Canadian, Xavier Desharnais are all spectacular swimmers and great builders in the sport.  Woman of the Year – Chloe McCardel and fellow Canadian Susan Simmons both had unbelievable swims!  And for Performance of the Year – there is Vicki Keith’s crew and Trinity Arsenault, both worthy as well!

Annaleise Carr, the 2012 WOWSA Woman of the Year, with Swim-master Rob, after swimming Lake Erie in 2014!

Annaleise Carr, (the 2012 WOWSA Woman of the Year), with Swim-master Rob, after swimming Lake Erie in 2014!

Happy voting!

... ya, and never grow up!

… ya, and never grow up!

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The 5th Annual LOST Polar Bear Dip!!!

Yup, we are all good to go for the 5th Annual LOST Polar Bear Dip!!!

polar bear dip, 2014

Hope you can make it…. like all things LOST, it’s a lot of fun!  So come down for a dip… or to laugh at the crazies that are taking a dip!  Either way, it’ll make your day and it’s a fun way to start the year!!!

you can measure the temp... by the facial expressions!

you can measure the temp… by the facial expressions!

Here are the details:

  • 12:00 noon, sharp! on New Year’s Day!!! (so show up a little early)
  • at the Navy Street Pier, where we always swim
  • Brett has opened up the store (Bean There) just for us, for a little warming hot chocolate, coffee or tea after the dip!  Be sure to thank Brett for helping warm us up on his day off!  (Reynolds and Lakeshore, northwest corner)
  • water temp will likely be about 1C
  • there is no cost
  • the forecast looks good… for polar bears!  Looks like it will be a winter day!
  • be prepared, it’s a good idea to have: a towel and/or robe, clothes that are easy to get into when you are wet, water shoes, a little mat, and a buddy to help dry you off! (and to take pictures of you freezing your butt off! haha)
  • NOTE: every year someone confuses the LOST Polar Bear Dip at the Navy Street Pier… with the Courage Brothers Polar Bear Dip at Coronation Park… so unless you plan on doing that one, make sure you go to the right spot at the right time!  (nothing wrong with their dip, however it is different, it is HUGE, which means a lot of waiting around in the cold and theirs costs $25, which is fine, as it goes to charity… but just so you know the difference).  But we’d love to see you at the LOST DIP!polar bear

PS.  we may even have a special show for you… it looks like our 3 LOST Polar Bears (Madhu, Loren and Mark) are going to make an appearance and show you how it’s done!  (and show you what a bit of hard cold water training can do!… in case you hadn’t heard,  Loren and Mark are training partners of Madhu’s, and Madhu is going to swim the Strait of Magellan on Jan 24!  More about that later!)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!  See you in the water!

Cheers,

Rob

 

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A first hand report from the Barbados Swim Festival!

The last time I saw Scott, 2003... back in North Battleford after my first Ironman... (yes, pleated khaki's were in then!)

The last time I saw Scott, 2003… back in North Battleford after my first Ironman… (yes, pleated khaki’s were in back then!)

So my old childhood buddy, who I’ve only seen once in the past 29 years, Scott Parker and his family went from North Battleford, Saskatchewan (where he and I grew up… population 10,000!) to Barbados, for my new friends, Zary and Kristina’s Barbados Open Water Swim Festival… here’s what he had to say…I guess I’ll be going next year!

Barbados

Hey Rob, you missed a fun time.

The race was ok too! Yes, that was our family your fellow LOSTie referenced. It was very nice of Zary and Kristina to recognize our participation. The only unfortunate part was that our oldest Matthew could not come due to first year university mid terms.

My old buddy, Scott Parker and his beautiful family at the Barbados Open Water Swim Festival, 2014

My old buddy, Scott Parker and his beautiful family at the Barbados Open Water Swim Festival, 2014

I attached a couple of pictures. Glad we didn’t have a video of me trying to carry my scrawny butt over the finish line. Yes it was exhausting. But I guess most people are like me thinking that a 5 km race will be a breeze if you do a dozen or so practices after not training for 25 years. (Well I am getting older, just not wiser) YET!!!

Considering that, the family and our group did do well for a bunch of flatlanders who most have not ever swam in open water. Oh, I did forget, it wasn’t a 5 km race, I am positive I swam 6 km or more because for some strange reason I could not find the black lines tiled into the bottom. Strange? Might need to speak to Zary about fixing that for next year.

swimming over sea turtles in Barbados... doesn't get much better than that!

swimming over sea turtles in Barbados… doesn’t get much better than that!

The competition site and the sites for the pre-competition guided swims were beautiful. How much better can it be swimming/competing while having sea turtles swim under you, and finishing up on silky white beaches? The only complaint was the water temp was warmer than our indoor pool in North Battleford. (I didn’t think I would ever complain of warm water, and I must mention it was not to warm in North Battleford today at 6 this am. Brrrr ). Brings back childhood memories of you honking in front of my house each morning wondering if I’ll come to practice while I curled up on the sofa.

Oh, one more thing about my race. I just wanted to thank you (my friend), being what most would consider an open water specialist, for giving me advice (not!) on how to sight while swimming and the importance of practicing this skill before going. I think it was at the 2 km mark (if I remember I’m sure I was ahead of the field including that world champ guy… ok maybe it was the hypoxia kicking in) when after zig-zaging around the course I began cramping every time I would sight. Trying to cut back on my salt intake (I dont have a sore throat after all the gargling), I would kick harder to lift this thick head of mine out of the water which of course would also make the cramp harder. The good thing was there was only 3 km left. I can now look back at it as a character building exercise. Did I mention it was fun though?

Team North Battleford!!!  Way to keep adventure alive in ol' NB!

Team North Battleford!!! Way to keep adventure alive in ol’ NB!

As for results, Sheila finished 3rd in the 45-54 1.5km with time of 26.49, Jenna(15yrs) and Tara (9yrs) finished the 1.5 km fun swim, Taylor (13yrs) was the youngest in the 5 km finishing with a time of 1.27:43, and I FINISHED 5th with a time of 1.26:40 in the 45-54 yr old 5 km. Our teammates also did extremely well with Bjorn Prollius (14 yrs in 5km) swimming a 1.13.32, his dad Almereau Prollius swimming the 1.5 km in 27.29. Audrey Harder came 3rd in the 5km 35-44 yr age group with 1:39.43. As well, two of our 45-54 yr old ladies in the 1.5 km race, Leanne Cunningham completed in 32.44, Ang completing the 1.5 fun swim and Toby Gillen swam a 27.31.

Got to meet some interesting swimmers from around the world, had some good food, drinks and created great memories with family and friends. To bad you couldn’t have been there.

The other great thing that happened is before we even left, we all started talking about making plans for the next swim trip (sorry kids, no more Disney). It looks like it won’t take another 25 years; in fact, Sheila just sent away my registration for a master’s meet this month in Regina that was added to the age group meet which I was taking Taylor to. I think for this I’ll stick to the 50m and 100m races.

Anyways good to hear from you. Hope your family has a great holiday season if I don’t speak to you before.

Scott, Sheila and family

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If you only go on one open water/tri training camp this winter…

… make it this one!  (for those of you who were contemplating going on several… haha!)

LOST Team Manager, marathon swimmer, Mexican National Swim Team member, coach and all-round good guy, Miguel Vadillo will be hosting this training camp… and it looks great!  Aside from a nice swim, bike, run training camp in Mexico, not only will you be coached by Miguel, you will also be coached by Canadian Olympic Triathlon coach Barrie Shepley and meet legendary marathon swimmer Nora Toledano!

click here to view on Facebook

Mexico training camp

Hi LOSTies,

We are writing to offer you this training opportunity that we believe will be helpful for achieving your goals for the 2015 season.

It is one week of swimming training in open water and cycling and running in warm weather with the phenomenal world class coaching of Barrie Shepley, Nat Faulkner and myself.

The destination, Las Estacas, is a beautiful natural park 100km southwest of Mexico City surrounded by little colonial villages and towns with plenty of tourist attractions.
Training will be customized to participants of any level of fitness and skills and will end with a mini meet in the river followed by a talk by International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame member Nora Toledano
http://www.openwaterpedia.com/index.php?title=Nora_Toledano

This is a first time offer happening January 24th to the 31st, 2015 that we want to make a yearly destination.  To make it a reality, we need confirmation of 14 people by Saturday December 13th preferably with $100.00 deposit.  If you are interested and you decide to come, please email us at info@embraceopenwater.com to make the arrangements via paypal for your deposit. 

Have fun and train hard… hope to see you in Mexico!

Miguel

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Toronto’s Pan Am Games… tickets go on sale on Dec 8th!

So the organizers of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games contacted me a while ago about getting some open water swimmers for their commercial… check it out below!  Note that the fencing in the commercial is on the Navy St Pier where we swim too… so we’re all practically famous!  They also came back to me yesterday to let everyone know that the tickets go on sale on Dec 8th…

Open water swimming is July 11 (women’s) and July 12 (men’s)…

click here for: Schedule and tickets

… that includes tickets for the 10k open water swimming at the newly renovated Marilyn Bell Park, right beside Ontario Place.  I’ll be getting tickets… it really will be exciting!

PAM140957_Leaderbrd_RUNNER_EN

 

Here are all the details:

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games are coming! Where will you be?

Starting July 10, 2015, Toronto will host the largest sport event in their history – the 2015 Pan Am Games/Parapan Am Games.  The best way to witness the power of sport is to be there. Share the highs of winning a gold for your country, the thrill of a close race and the camaraderie of 7000+ athletes from 41 countries and territories.

General ticket sales phase is open from December 8, 2014 – March 9th, 2015, on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Tickets start at just $20, with 75% of tickets priced $45 and under. For more ticket information, visit TORONTO2015.org/tickets.

And not to be missed … the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will feature a one-night-only performance by Canadian cultural icon, Cirque du Soleil, and a few other surprises along the way.

Don’t miss your chance to see some of the world’s top athletes compete. Start planning for one of the greatest events Toronto has ever hosted. http://www.seetorontonow.com/toronto-2015-pan-am-games/

Cheers,

Rob

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Barbados Open Water Swim Festival!

BarbadosSo my new swimming friends in Barbados, Zary and Kristina Evelyn, hosted my oldest swimming friend, Scott Parker, from North Battleford, Saskatchewan!  Scott and I swam for the “North Battleford Kinsmen Beavers” from about 1975 – 1982… wow, he must be getting old!

You see Scott and his wife, Sheila, and 3 kids went down for the 2nd annual Barbados Open Water Swim Festival… and apparently it was awesome!  And yes, all 5 of them competed in the open water races… how cool is that!  Well done Parkers!  They have all kinds of events and distances, 5k, 1.5k, a SUP race, water polo, even a pool swim meet!  I heard from a few other LOSTies who also attended (Mike Scapillato!) and everyone seemed to have a great time.  And why not… it looks great… maybe next year!

Here’s a video clip that Kristina sent me after the Festival and the results:

click here for Results

http://www.swimbarbadosvacations.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SwimBarbadosVacations

Keep up the great work Zary and Kristina!!!

Buffalo and Barbados... they both start with a "B"... but that's about where the similarities end!

Buffalo and Barbados… they both start with a “B”… but that’s about where the similarities end!

PS.  Kristina sent me the video and an email about the same time as Buffalo got dumped on with the huge storm… so I sent her this pic… so she’d know what she was missing!

Cheers,

Rob

 

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The LOST Beer Mile!!!

Ok, that was way too much fun.

17 thirst competitors about to start the 2014 LOST Beer Mile!

17 thirst competitors about to start the 2014 LOST Beer Mile!

It was a long time coming, I’ve had the idea for a while, as did Darren and Mauro… and finally we got it together, found a date and pulled the trigger.  Of course with this being the first one nobody was sure who, if anyone was going to actually step up to the plate and show up for a bit of a track workout and some liquid muscle relaxants.

Darren... with a shirt that reads with anticipation of the finish...

Darren… with a shirt that reads with anticipation of the finish…

It was to start at 6:30… Dylan and I showed up at 6:15… and we were the only ones there.  It was starting to feel like high school all over again… sneaking out for a few beers… throwing a party and hoping somebody shows up!  But alas, Al pulled in behind us.  And then a whole parade of cars.  And soon we had 17 sign ups… and a whole bunch of Looky-Loo’s!  Thanks to Steve, Steve and Dave for being the Beer Mile Officials too… I’d hate to have such awesome times not recorded for the annuls of history!  I think the spectators probably outnumbered the runners by 2 to 1… but this was shaping up to be one of the most spectator friendly running events I’ve ever attended!

Ted... awesome... just because...

Ted… awesome… just because…

We had a true LOSTie… in his training suit and bathing cap (Madhu!)… we had a true vintage 1970’s runner, complete with mustache, mullet, headband and 70’s running shorts (Ted)… oh wait, that mustache was real?!… whatever.  And we even had a couple of women who weren’t afraid to step it up with the big boys (France and Kenzie!)… and yes, they did “chick” at least 2 guys!

Kenzie and France... funny, they don't look like they are in the middle of a race!

Kenzie and France… funny, they don’t look like they are in the middle of a race!

I'm not sure if Pre said that... or Michael, after the second lap!

I’m not sure if Pre said that… or Michael, after the second lap!

And the race… well, it was something.  The early favorites were Alex (4 time Ironman, running his 20th consecutive Boston Marathon this spring, east-coast’r and the defending Beer Mile World Champion of Oakville!)… and Michael… who just placed 20th in the Sprint Distance triathlon World Championships this summer and also ran track at the University of South Florida and did a Beer Mile each year there!  And 15 other schmucks who we doing their first Beer Mile and where going to be very happy just to finish… and not yack.  Myself included.

It must have been the Go Pro that slowed me down...

It must have been the Go Pro that slowed me down…

And off we went to the count down and roar of the crowd.  Drink a beer.  And quite literally Michael was done his first beer and was half way around the track before I was even finished my first one!  Even Alex was way behind.  He had this one in the bag.

Bannister passing Landy in the Miracle Mile... not unlike Alex passing Michael in the Beer Mile!

Bannister passing Landy in the Miracle Mile… not unlike Alex passing Michael in the Beer Mile!

But wait.  This is the BEER mile… running is the easy part of this gig.  And as far as beers go, the first beer is the easiest.  As Michael found out.  I think I heard that Alex caught him after the second beer!  Alex held on to win it soundly in a time of 7:15… the Roger Bannister of beer.  Although I don’t know if ol’ Roger could knock them back or not.  In fact, it was the young guys (Shawn and Dylan, both 23) who got their butts kicked by the old guys… and let me tell you, if it was just running a mile… Shawn would have easily been first!  But not today.

Today was about the old guys beating the young guys… fathers beating their sons… women beating some of the men… and just whole lot of good ol’ fashion fun.

Madhu and Adrian... did you ever go to a party and feel like you were way under-dressed?

Madhu and Adrian… did you ever go to a party and feel like you might be under-dressed?

And then the best part… rehashing it all at the King’s Arms over nacho’s… and of course a few cool-down beers too.

Don’t ever grow up.

Cheers,

Rob

Here are the results and a few interesting stats:

(official results have been uploaded to the Beermile.com  http://www.beermile.com/e/6154 )

LOST Beer Mile

  • most popular beer: Canadian (4), Budwieser (3), Coors (2), Creemore, Cameron’s, Guiness, Steam Whistle, Keith’s, Lakeport (1 each)
  • 4 guys under the Miracle Mile time of 10:00
  • 10 LOSTies, 7 CR’s
  • top 5 spots… and 8 of the top 9… were LOSTies
  • 15 men, 2 women
  • World Record: James “The Beast” Neilsen, 4:57, San Francisco, Marin Beer Mile, 34 years old, 2014, Budwieser, can
  • http://www.beermile.com/
  • Rules: 
  1. Each competitor drinks four cans of beer and runs four laps on a track (Start – beer/lap, beer/lap, beer/lap, beer/lap – finish).
  2. Beer must be consumed before the lap is begun, within the transition area which is the 10 meter zone before the start/finish line on a 400m track.
  3. The race begins with the drinking of the first beer in the last meter of the transition zone to ensure the competitors run a complete mile (1609 meters).
  4. Women also drink four beers in four laps (past rule lists only required ladies to drink three beers).
  5. Competitors must drink canned beer and the cans should not be less than 355ml (the standard can volume) or 12oz (the imperial equivalent). Bottles may be substituted for cans as long as they are at least 12 oz (355 ml) in volume.
  6. No specialized cans or bottles may be used that give an advantage by allowing the beer to pour at a faster rate. ie “super mega mouth cans” or “wide mouth bottles” are prohibited.
  7. Beer cans must not be tampered with in any manner, ie. No shotgunning or puncturing of the can except for opening the can by the tab at the top. The same applies with bottles – no straws or other aids are allowed in order to aid in the speed of pouring.
  8. Beer must be a minimum of 5% alcohol by volume.  Hard ciders and lemonades will not suffice.  The beer must be a fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from malt and flavored with hops.  For an abbreviated list of valid beers and exceptions, click here.
  9. Each beer can must not be opened until the competitor enters the transition zone on each lap.
  10. Competitors who vomit before they finish the race must complete one penalty lap at the end of the race (immediately after the completion of their 4th lap). Note: Vomitting more than once during the race still requires only one penalty lap at the end.
  11. It is strongly recommended, when attempting official records, to tip the empty beer can or bottle over your head at the end of a chug to verify an empty vessel
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Christine crushes Kona!

Christine van WarmerdamFor those of you who don’t know Christine van Warmerdam… well, she swam with my son, Dylan, the Oakville Aquatic Club for years… and was “pretty good”.  Now I mean this in the best way, but she wasn’t one of the many superstars that OAK has had over the years, she was just “pretty good”… at least in the world of competitive swimming.  In the real world she was still a great swimmer… and apparently when you transfer that over into triathlon… she’s a great swimmer there too!  Anyway, that’s where I got to know her, as one of those little kids running around on the deck.

But then she went off to university… to get an Engineering degree… and that flew by… and before I knew it I was sharing a lane with her at Burlington Masters Swim Club!  Then a bunch of the BMSC gang decided to do IM Lake Placid this summer… Ben, Mel, Stacey, Jason and Christine (sorry if I forgot anyone else!).

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

It was pretty cool, Ben’s first since his big accident and he did really well… 10:50.  Mel pulled out because the torrential rain made it really unsafe after they cut the swim short because of lightning!  There were tons of wipe outs on the bike!  Jason was amazing… 12:25… as was Stacey… 12:32!  And this was just Christine’s first Ironman so I think she, like most first-timers, would have been glad just to finish.

But obviously I didn’t know how good of a biker or runner she is too!  She won her age group (20-24), outright… in 10:31!!!

So she did the incredible… qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona on her first try!  Wow.

I haven’t heard how Kona went yesterday but here are her results!

Congrats Christine!!!

Cheers,

Rob

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4th person to complete a swim from the Farallon Islands!!!

Check out this swim… probably the toughest marathon swim in the world!  And Joe becomes only the 4th solo to complete it!  Leaving aside the ever present Great White Sharks that populate the area, the water was 53F.  We LOSTies know how cold that is… but not for 14 hours!  As well as all currents, jellyfish and very rough water.  He made it on his 7th try.    I have to admit, I’m among the many marathon swimmers that have kicked the idea of this swim around in my head… but I am not among the few who have attempted it… and not among the even smaller number that has completed it!!!  Wow and congrats to Joe!

Cheers,

Rob

JUL
14

Marathon Swimmer Joe Locke Completes the Farallon Crossing to the Golden Gate

I am an open water swimmer. Like a few hundred others at the South End Rowing and the Dolphin Club, I routinely swim in the Bay year round, without wetsuit.  But there are swimmers and there are Swimmers. An arcane group of athletes around the globe take on extreme athletic challenges, crossing large portions of open water without protection.  The English Channel is a well known passage, but there are many lesser known swims with greater risk and more extreme conditions.
Known as the Ocean 7, elite open water swimmers take on crossings like the Cook Straits, the Molokai Channel and Tsugaru Straits of Japan. Not part of the Ocean 7, but what many consider the most difficult of ocean passages is called the Farallon Island Channel.  This swim, now sanctified by the Farallon Island Swim Association combines cold water, strong currents, stinging jellies and the presence of great white sharks.The first two solo crossings from the island to the shore were in 1967 as part of a friendly rivalry between two swimmers from the Dolphin Club.  Starting at South East Farallon Island(SEFI) Dolphin Club member Lt. Col. Stewart Evans completed the first crossing to the coast, finishing at the beach near Bolinas in 13 hours, 44 minutes.  In early September, few weeks later Ted Erikson started swimming at SEFI and swam all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge in 14 hours, 38 minutes.  Since then, a few relay teams have made the trip across in both directions, but until June 2014 no one has made a complete solo crossing. This June, an accomplished distance swimmer, Coloradan Craig Lenning made the attempt to cross the Gulf to the Gate. Currents off Point Bonita caused Craig to miss the bridge but he successfully landed at Muir Beach in 15 hours, 47 minutes.

My friend Joe Locke has long had his eyes on this goal.  A soft spoken, hulk of a man, Locke has swum the English Channel and many other distance challenges.  When asked to advise him on sharks and the islands last year, I gladly joined his team to help escort him safely across the Gulf of the Farallones.
One of the great challenges of this swim are the conditions off our coastline. Coastal upwelling brings up deep nutrient rich cold water creating an abundance of life and the conditions for the summer fog we know so well. Storms from the Aleutians and localized northwest winds generate large swells, wind waves and strong currents. And then, there are the sharks.
Everyone talks about the sharks but few see them. In fact, most of the large white sharks of are still offshore in early summer, heading back home on their migration from the White Shark Cafe.
Although some white sharks stay in the region year round, the odds of a shark encounter get higher as the water warms and the season progresses towards Sharktober. Surfers, swimmers and divers have experienced encounters along our coastline.  The risk is always present, yet the odds of encountering a shark are lower than other wildlife.  In fact, more swimmers get bit by Sea Lions locally than Sharks.  Still, the sharks are here and its part of the risk we take surfing, diving and swimming in the Red Triangle. Swimmers considering the Farallons passage must weigh water temperature and weather against the increase risk of encountering a white shark as the Sharktober season progresses. It is not advisable to attempt swimming or even kayaking around South East Farallon Island when the large sharks are present in numbers roughly between August and December.

This was Joe’s 7th attempt and my third supporting him, and this time, the conditions looked ideal. On one swim Joe nearly made it to Point Bonita before being denied by the mighty ebb tide that pushed Evans and Lenning north. On this passage the tides and waypoints had again been carefully calculated. The weather pattern looked like it would hold for one day, and now it was up to Joe. Previous attempts had been too rough, or the water temperature in the high 40s made it impossible to stay in the water. Onboard were a team of experienced ocean swimmers including Marathon Ocean Swimmer Evan Morrison who acted as official observer.

Joe plunged into the darkness at the SEFI buoy a shade after midnight.  The sea lions and common murrres serenaded us as the 34 foot Hyperfish support boat followed behind as he immediately stroked east away from the rocky island.  His stroke rate was high, in the mid eighties, but the water temperature at 53 and calm seas boded well once he settled in. He soon left the odor of sea lions and murres behind but drifted over and through patches of stinging nettles.
For the first few hours Joe swam steadily between two and three miles in an hour. Every 40 minutes we fed him his home-brewed super food tossed out in water bottles on a line. No sharks came to visit, but a Sea Lion followed him for an hour, swimming beneath and bumping him from behind.

The swim observes the Channel Rules, and is sanctioned by a Farallon Island Swim Foundation. The rules allow no assistance and no touching the boat, a swim cap, suit and lanolin for chafe and not much else.  Joe swims like the water polo player he once was,  with a strong open stroke and a regular heads-up every 4th stroke.  Joe swam steadily through the night, braving stings from the jellyfish as he pushed through the bioluminescence. Sunrise found us just where we wanted to be, but we ran into the first of the waning ebb 12 miles out from Point Lobos. Joe powered through this sticky water but his rate dropped below 2 miles/hour and we worried about making the flood tide before it turned. It took 3 hours to push past a back eddy north of the Four Fathom Bank, but our speed picked up and making the tide looked hopeful. Tankers exiting the bay and cargo ships behind all converged as we came abreast of Bonita Channel. On a building breeze kite sailors and yachties cheered as the swimmer chugged steadily up the channel. The clock ticked and ahead inside the Gate I could see the green water of the ebb tide meeting the flood. We were running out of time. Ship traffic pushed us towards the south tower close to the footing where the current surged into a standing wave. Joe’s stroke rate increased slightly as he sensed the imminent river of water prepared to deny him once again.

Joe had hoped to swim to Aquatic Park but as he neared the bridge the going got really tough right when he least needed it.  The last half hour against the building ebb made the bridge an acceptable goal and he reached out and touched the pier footing to the cheers of the crew.  Powering through the final chop, 13 hours and 58 minutes later Joe cleared the shadow of the Golden Gate, becoming the second person in history to make the swim. This time beat both of the two other 6 person relays accomplished by the venerable Night Train Swimmers.
It felt great to support and document this epic feat of endurance.  This swim takes speed and power in addition to all the other traits that make up a successful ocean swimmer.
Training, commitment, concentration and a little luck put Joe into the history books. Many have their eye on this crossing, but the swim from the Devil’s Teeth is not for the faint of heart, even among the marathon swim crowd.
I think I’ll stick to diving with sharks.

Join Shark Stewards Director David McGuire on wildlife expeditions to the Farallon Islands in the fall. Want to learn more or help support our work fighting shark finning or the shark fin trade please visit www.sharkstewards.org.

Joe touches the South Tower in a building ebb.
All images and text copyright 2014 David McGuire, SeaStewards.org
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Canadian Open Water Swim Series announces the new National Champions!!!

cowss logoWell there you have it… the first season of COWSS has come to a close.  Pretty cool though… only a few months ago this was just an idea.  Then in the middle of February, as far from open water swimming season in Canada as you can get, a few of us made it a reality.  Me, Miguel, Katie, Steve and Richard.  We started with just the LOST Race, The Toronto Island Lake Swim and Bring On The Bay in Ottawa.  Then we picked up a few more people to help run it, Barrie, Dylan and Sean.  And we picked up a few races, in Vancouver, Kelowna and Halifax.  And soon we had the making of a true national series.  Wow.

Maisey's vision of a mass start at a COWWS race!

Maisey’s vision of a mass start at a COWWS race!

We weren’t sure how it would all shake out.  We had lots of plans, but didn’t know how to put it all together.  Still lots of room for improvement, but like so many things in life, just starting… is everything.  Now we have the first summer done and a whole winter to find out ways to improve.  We want to add more races… and our biggest goal is to add more swimmers too!

So yes, we organizers deserve a pat on the back for getting it going (way to go guys!)… but the real success is measured by participation… did anyone show up?  Is there really a market for something like this?  Can we make it work?  And I’m going to have to say “yes”… it looks like there is really an appetite for something like this!  I have to say we are pretty happy with over 2000 swimmers participating in the inaugural season!  That’s a pretty good benchmark!

And people really embraced it as a “series”.  We didn’t think that many people would actually travel from place to place just to improve their ranking and to do more races… but we hoped they would… and that’s exactly what happened!  (check out the number of people who swam multiple races below).

Bill and Ross battling for 1st at the LOST Race!

Bill and Ross battling for 1st at the LOST Race!

And as much as anything, the the whole points system that I planned worked perfectly.  Right from the word go, I wanted 50% of the points just for participating and 50% for placing.  Thus leveling the playing field between “enthusiasts” and “speedsters”!  And take a look at our winners below and it bears that out.

Bill Leonard won the very competitive “men’s Non-Wetsuit” division… he is very fast… and traveled from Ottawa to do 4 races!  Speed and participation… very deserving!  (he beat me, 3rd, and my son, Dylan, 4th!… but we’re coming for you next year Bill!)

Steve presenting Maisey with her award for 1st place, women's/naked division!

Steve presenting Maisey with her award for 1st place, women’s/naked division!  Toronto Island Lake Swim.

And Maisey Kent won the “Women’s Non-Wetsuit” division. Yes, she’s my daughter, but that’s the beauty of the points, it take any subjectivity out of it!… although I am proud of her for winning and keeping the Kent name out there!  She narrowly edged out the super-star marathon swimmer, Annaleise Carr (who did a 42k and a 30k Lake Erie Crossings this summer too!)… pretty cool rivalry though too!

And Michael Fana won the Men’s Wetsuit Division.  This is kind of the coolest win of the four.  So the most points you can earn in a race is 100. (actually never quite 100 because it is a “percentile”, but the larger the race the closer to 100 points for first place).  And if you were like Bill you were averaging about 98 points per race.  But the the number of races you swim is the great equalizer!  Michael was one of only two people (Rhian Short, second in the Women’s Wetsuit division is the other) to do 5 races!!!  But Michael was only averaging about 69 points per race… so he’s pretty fast, but not the fastest… but he won!!!  Hey, if you show that kind of dedication to the sport of open water swimming… you deserve to win!  Well done Michael!!!  (and Rhian!).

LOST Race, 2014!!!

LOST Race, 2014!!!

And Sandra Jesson, won the Women’s Wetsuit Division.  And the cool thing about this win?… she’s in the 50-59 age group!  She did 4 races and earned about 75 points per race.  So forget about the age thing too!  Anyone can win!vowsa logo TILS logo Rattlesnake Island swim logo bring on the bay logoBrigaSwim_LogoLOST Race logo across the lake swim logo

Epic Swim, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia!

Epic Swim, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia!

 

So without further ado… here is the official results and comments from COWSS. (Thanks Dylan!)  You can find more info at COWSS.ca

Remember if you did ANY of the races in COWSS, you automatically were entered into the National Rankings!  So have look and see how you placed in the country!  (press CTRL F to find your name in the results).

COWSS National Champions, 2014

See you all next year… and bring a friend!

Cheers,

Rob

 

cowss logo

The inaugural season of the Canadian Open Water Swim Series (COWSS) came to a close on Saturday with the Caledon Quarry Swim II. After 12 events occurring over 3 months with over 2000 participants in races all across Canada the final rankings have been calculated and we are pleased to announce our National Champions for the 2014 season:

Men’s Non-Wetsuit, National Champion – William Leonard, Ottawa (390.37 points, 4 races)

Women’s Non-Wetsuit, National Champion – Maisey Kent, Oakville (276.84 points, 3 races)

Men’s Wetsuit, National Champion – Michael Fana, Mississauga (344.63 points, 5 races)

Women’s Wetsuit, National Champion – Sandra Jesson, Mississauga (299.15 points, 4 races)

Congratulations to our National Champions, your names will be engraved on the COWSS Trophy (we will post pictures for everyone to see once the engraving is completed).

The overall national rankings and the age group national rankings for participants in all races are now posted.

We would like to thank everyone for their participation this year and we look forward to you joining us next season when we plan on working to make the Canadian Open Water Swim Series bigger and better.

Some interesting stats from the Final Results:

Number of Events in COWSS: 12

Number of Races in COWSS: 26

Distances offered in COWWS: 750m, 1km, 1.5km, 2km, 2.1km, 3km, 3.1km, 3.8km, 4km, 5km, 6km, 7km, 10km

Total Participants: 2012

Male Non-Wetsuit Participants: 155

Female Non-Wetsuit Participants: 237

Male Wetsuit Participants: 765

Female Wetsuit Participants: 855

Largest Age Group: Female Wetsuit, 40-49 Age Group, (247 swimmers)

Highest Point Average for an Age Group*: Men’s non-wetsuit, 19 & under – 90.87

*calculated by dividing total points for the age group by total participants

Number of swimmers to complete multiple races: 182

Race with the most finishers: Across the Lake Swim (Kelowna, BC) – 636 swimmers

Highest Point Total Overall: William Leonard, 390.37 points

Average Point Total: 83.10

Median Point Total: 77.10

Swimmers to complete the most races: Michael Fana and Rhian Short both completed 5 races

Swimmer with the highest point average*: Rod Craig 99.19

*calculated by dividing total points by number of races, out of a possible 100 (swimmer must have done more than one race)

Events, locations and dates:

1) Epic Swim / Dartmouth, NS / Jun 28
2) Canada Day Challenge / Port Moody, BC / Jul 01
3) Caledon Quarry Swim Race / Caledon, ON / July 6th
4) Bring On The Bay / Ottawa, ON / Jul 12
5) Across The Lake Swim / Kelowna, BC / Jul 19
6) Bay Challenge / West Vancouver, BC / Jul 19
7) Briga Swim / Halifax, N.S / Aug 02
8) Kitsilano Challenge / Kitsilano Beach, BC / Aug 02
9) The L.O.S.T. Race / Oakville, ON / Aug 09
10) Rattlesnake Island Swim / Okanagan Lake, BC / Aug 09
11) Toronto Island Lake Swim / Toronto Island, ON / Aug 17
12) Caledon Quarry Swim Race / Caledon, ON / Sept 20th

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Caledon Quarry Swim II

PB-Caledon-Swim

Of course the risk you run by having a open water swim race in Ontario on September 20th is… well, you could freeze your butt off!  Sure you might luck out and have one of those beautiful sunny fall days… but what are the odds?  Doesn’t matter… we got it!

It was perfect… sunny (25C) and the water temp was even nice (58F/14C)!  Funny thing was that it was really windy, but the Quarry is so sheltered that it didn’t really matter… just a great day and a great swim… perfect way to end the 2014 open water season!

I was helping my son move that morning, he just got a new condo right between the Skydome (yes, I’m one of those guys that still doesn’t call it the Roger’s Center!) and the ACC… great apartment!  But I digress, the only reason I was telling you that is that is why I did the 2k rather than the 4k… because it started a bit later, so I could get there on time.  So after a nice warm up of moving furniture all morning I got there just in time for the race.

So yes, the air and water was nice, but I still wasn’t going to get in and warm up… better to risk it and take the plunge, so to speak.  Given that I wimped out of the 4k, I figured I would atone for that by at least doing the 2k naked.  Sure I’d be slower without the wetsuit, but better placing.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Winners of the 4k Wetsuit division: Greg Streppel and Hannah Fraser (with Sean Bechtel and I making the presentations)

Winners of the 4k Wetsuit division: Greg Streppel and Hannah Fraser (with Sean Bechtel and I making the presentations)

Miguel sounded the gun… and I went charging in with a ton of others!  At 58F/13C the first dive in is a bit of a shocker, and the hundred meters are “brisk”, but at race pace 58F is just about the perfect temp and you warm up pretty quickly.  I find it’s like a lot of the numerous variables in any kind of a race… wind, shoes, drinks, etc… if you don’t even notice it, it must be fine.  And after a couple hundred meters I didn’t notice the water temp, one way or another.  I was just focusing on the race.

I found a couple of guys my speed to swim with.  Or rather, they found me.  And drafted off me for the first half of the first 1k loop.  But I got wise and dropped back and drafted off of them for a little rest.  We came around the corner headed for home and naturally I figured that because these guys were my speed they were probably good open water swimmers too.  They weren’t.  We were about half way back when I sighted.  Only to find out the strong wind had blown the 3 of us way off course!  Rookie mistake.  By them and me.  They should have accounted for that and sighted more often.  I shouldn’t have hung my hat on them!

But at least I showed a bit of veteran experience in the same spot on the second loop.  The 3 of us were still together when we made the same turn that put the wind to our side again… blowing us off course again.  But I knew they’d be wiser the second time and correct.  As I said before, they weren’t that experienced.  They didn’t correct again!  But I did.  I probably saved at least 100 meter on them!

However, I was beginning to feel the effects of about 1.5 km at race pace… and no training.  They still beat me by a bit.  But the gap was 100 meters closer than it would have been.  Some consolation at least!

It was great to see so many LOSTies, we made up a very good percentage of the swimmers!  I love racing and I love swimming, so I can’t complain.  Great day!

Thanks Barrie, Miguel, Katie, Sean and all the others for a fun race and great wrap up to the summer of open water swim racing!

Cheers,

Rob

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Rick’s “Gordie Howe moment”…

My favorite Gordie Howe moment was during the 21 hours I spent swimming across Lake Ontario when my wife and 3 kids each took turns pacing me… very cool.  And for those non-Canadians or non-hockey fans out there… Gordie Howe was one of the greatest hockey players of all time… among his greatest claims to fame was the fact that he played professional hockey in 6 decades!… which allowed him to play on the same professional hockey team as 2 of his sons!

Rick and his son, Ian... flag bearers for the "Run to Remember"

Rick and his son, Ian… flag bearers for the “Run to Remember”

Check out the comments below that LOSTie and Staff Sgt, Brian Smithson, wrote about his buddy and fellow officer:

Sometimes in life we get to do something cool.    Attached is a picture of Rick Paradis and his son Ian. As some of you know, Rick is in his 34th year of policing and Ian has been here for almost 2 years.

Here they are pictured together running in memory of fallen officers in the “Run to Remember”.  A 460 km journey (relay) from Toronto to Ottawa in honor of police officers who have lost their lives in service to our community. I ask you all to imagine the pride Rick and Ian must feel.

Congrats Rick and Ian!

PS.  Rick is the only non-swimming LOSTie!

Cheers,

Rob

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The Erie Marathon!

Start of the Erie Marathon!

Start of the Erie Marathon!

So this past year was a bit of a mixed bag for me.  No big ones… but lots of others to keep me out of trouble.

I did a few tri’s… Eagleman 1/2 IM was the big one early in the season… and a few open water races… Caledon Quarry Swim 1, The LOST Race, The Toronto Island Lake Swim, Caledon Quarry Swim 2… Swim Master for Annaleise’s 42.2 km and 30 km swims across Lake Erie… a couple of trail races… Sulphur Springs 50k, Iriquoia Trail Test… and a few marathons… Marine Corp, Bahama’s, Boston and most recently Erie Marathon… all in all a pretty decent trip across the calendar!

"The Gang"... Erie Marathon 2014... it's a keeper!

“The Gang”… Erie Marathon 2014… it’s a keeper!

Having said all that… the training is as much fun as the racing.  Although I have to admit… I love racing.  I love racing when I’m good shape and can have one of those rare times when there are no excuses needed and you actually feel good about a race.  Could always do better, but it’s nice to feel content.  But I know that I’m a true “racer”, because I even love racing when I’m out of shape and really suck.  Which unfortunately more often than the former.  But as much as I love racing there is no way that I would do any of this if the training wasn’t fun.  And honestly… having people to train with is what makes it fun.  Regardless of the sport, having training buddies is everything!

we're liars... I have no idea why we were smiling... we weren't having that much fun at that point anyway!

we’re liars… I have no idea why we were smiling… we weren’t having that much fun, at that point anyway!

As I have for the past 18 years or so, I trained with all the usual running/tri buddies.  We don’t really have a name or a team, but these are the guys that helped form LOST swimming and are still key to LOST today.  There are also all the LOSTies that I really love training with.  As I’ve said before, I love being surrounded by positive, enthusiastic (and sometimes crazy) people… it just makes life more interesting… and training a helluva lot more enjoyable too!  And despite the differences in speed and ability, that is one of the common denominators between all LOSTies… we all seem to be pretty positive, enthusiastic and somewhat crazy about sucking the most fun out of life.  The other common denominator is having the guts to go for a swim in nice cool water!

Connor's Runners, Erie marathon, 2014

Connor’s Runners, Erie marathon, 2014

There is a running group that Joanne and I joined this year that we have been a part of in previous years called “Connor’s Runner’s”… and they seem to have the dry-land DNA of a LOST Swimmer.  Just a bunch of fun-lovin’, beer-drinkin’ people who still want to train hard and race as hard as they can… but mostly have fun.

gotta love Pre...

gotta love Pre… (from the Boston Pizza in Erie!)

So we all went down to Erie for the marathon.  “Our gang”… and our Connor’s Runners buddies.  About 10 from our gang and 34 from CR.  Two great groups, although with all the dinner’s and drinks and splitting time between the two groups it felt a little like an athletic version of “Three’s Company”!

Having said all that… what a great marathon!  Here’s why:

  1. flat, flat, flat
  2. beautiful… double loop course on a peninsula that goes out into the lake… very scenic
  3. just the right size… not too big… not too small… about 1000 runners
  4. only 3 hour drive away
  5. great tradition… 41st year!
  6. cheap!… $50 bucks… try and beat that for a full marathon!  (cheap hotels too)
  7. the narrow double loop is great for spectators
  8. the only weekend where you can get qualify for the Boston Marathon for the next 2 years!!!
  9. a very fast course

    Okay, it was a little windy the day before the race... (but not on race day!)... Al and Patrick... they look like they are on the bow of the Titantic!

    Okay, it was a little windy the day before the race… (but not on race day!)… Al and Patrick… they look like they are on the bow of the Titantic!

But maybe I shouldn’t say all that.  Now everyone is going to want to do it.  Oh well, I’m not good a keeping my mouth shut.

fyi... that chair was located about 15 feet past the finish line... and didn't come any too soon!

fyi… that chair was located about 15 feet past the finish line… and didn’t come any too soon!

So having said all that… how did I do?  I sucked… a 3:49.  I was “hoping” for a 3:30 to get back to Boston… but I knew that wasn’t going to happen, the training hadn’t been there and 3 weeks of construction on the new house wasn’t exactly the perfect taper… coming home exhausted every night is much harder than my old desk job!  (right Adrian and Al!… don’t know how you guys do it!).  Oh well.

There were some great races though and a ton of “double BQ’s” too!  Congrats to all my speedy friends, LOSTies and speedy Connor’s Runners friends!  (tough break for Joanne… she missed Boston by 48 seconds!… at least I missed it by a mile!… well, actually several miles!)

Chocolate milk... one of Brian's favorite drinks after a marathon...

Chocolate milk… one of Brian’s favorite drinks after a marathon…

Brian's (and Patrick's) other favorite drink after a marathon!

Brian’s (and Patrick’s) other favorite drink after a marathon!

In case you noticed there were only 9 points above, and not 10… that’s because “a beautiful little town” was missing.  I mean Erie is nice enough, but not one where you’d want to just laze around for an extra day… unless you were going for the laser tag and water slide, of course… or… unless your car broke down.  Which mine did.  So I got to spend 2 extra days there.  On the up-side… laying in bed watching movies for a whole day after running a marathon isn’t really a very hard sell.  It all worked out.

Anyway… on to the next adventure!

PS.  stay tuned… there will be a few ideas and invitations bantered around in the up-coming off season!

Cheers,

Rob

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