Dylan, Jill, Rob and Maisey... testing the waters!
Dylan, Jill, Rob and Maisey... testing the waters!

So Maisey, Jill and I went down to test the waters… literally and figuratively… on Tuesday night, May 25th.  And much to our surprise (in fact Maisey and I made Jillian go check it twice) the water was HOT!  70F!  That’s crazy hot this time of year.  But given the hot temperatures we’ve had lately (25C – 30C), I guess it made sense.  We really had only planned on going for a little dip… but the down side to warm water is the algae… lots of it… and the lack of wind also helps keep the water warm, as it doesn’t circulate, it is stagnate and heats up, perfect for the algae.  And there was lots of it… so Maisey and I walked out to the end of the pier and jumped off the end… it was like bath water!  We just swam out to the first buoy and called it a night… with plans to come back for a longer swim the next night.

So Wednesday night we were all ready to go for a nice long swim, a bit too warm, but at least I could put some distance in.  Dylan was all set up in the kayak we had borrowed from Peter.  Maisey and I were all set to go, and given how warm it was,

52F... oooh, too cold for Jill!
52F... oooh, too cold for Jill!

even Jillian was game for a nice little swim… only problem was… the lake “rolled over” during the night!!!  It went from 70F on Tuesday… to 52F Wednesday!!!  Welcome to open water swimming in Lake O!!!

Lake Ontario usually rolls over two or three times per season.  Essentially the surface water heats up and creates a bit of a convection current and rolls over and the warm water goes to the bottom… and the cold water goes to the top.  A lot of larger lakes do this, but not many as quickly and as dramatically as Lake O.  Gradually, as the summer goes on, it happens less and less, until the whole lake is finally warm.  That was the first one… I’d be willing to be we get another one in June, but that will likely be it for the season, and by early to mid August it will be over 70F almost all the time.  Which is when you start to get the algae build up.  But that’s open water swimming!

Anyway, Jill and Maisey tried to swim out and touch the kayak and swim back, without freezing to death… a grand total of 20 meters!  Maisey didn’t make it on her first try, neither did Jill… Maisey tried it again and got out there… but Dylan, not

Maisey!!!... do not tip me over!
Maisey!!!... do not tip me over!

anxious to have his sister dump him in the cold water kept paddling backwards, much to her shagrin!

Then dad went.  I had to look good in front of the kids… so I swam out to the pier, warmed up in the outflow from the creek with is about 10F warmer… then swam back and past the starting point and kept going.  About 20 minutes or 1km or so.  It was actually quite cold, but I felt good and wasn’t too cold when I got out, looks like the cold water training is actually working!

A great picture... doesn't even look cold!
A great picture... doesn't even look cold!

Cheers,

Rob

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I founded LOST Swimming because I like open water swimming and would like to see it grow and thrive in Lake Ontario. I started as a competitive swimmer as a kid and ended up getting as far as a silver medal at Nationals and going to the Olympic Trials in 1988. But I retired after that, I was sick of swimming. So I got into running marathons and have run over 35 to date, as well as a few ultra marathons, including the Marathon des Sables (7 day, ultra across the Sahara Desert). I also kind of fell into triathlons and have done a handful of Ironman tri's too. This gradually got me back in the water and in 2006 I took the plunge and attempted swimming the English Channel. I didn't quite make it across, but the circle was now complete and after 17 years I was a swimmer again! Although I still do plenty of pool swimming, I now much prefer open water swimming and like to say that open water swimming is to pool swimming, what trail running is to treadmill running! As a result I hope to encourage more people to join me for a dip in Lake Ontario as often as we can!

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