Embrace swim coach, and my right hand man at LOST, Miguel Vadillo, arranged a “long swim” at the Caledon Quarry on Sunday, (and then paddled around for hours, helping us feed!) for a few of us that are planning some long swims this summer.

despite the sunny sky.. it was cold and windy! A tough swim!
despite the sunny sky.. it was cold and windy! A tough swim!

The big one is Maya, who is attempting to break the record as the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario!  Currently the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario is Natalie Lambert, at 14 yrs and 27 days.  Trinity Arsenault, is the youngest to swim the traditional route, 14 yrs and 71 days.  If I am not mistaken, (depending when her birthday falls) Maya does it, she will hold both titles!

Anita Doppenberg is attempting a Lake Erie Crossing, which is very impressive.  Steve Faulkner, who has swum the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (37k), Catalina Channel (34k) and attempted the English Channel 4 times(!), is always game for a long swim… and often has a big one lined up!  And I’m doing the “Swim Across The Sound”.  A 25k race across the Long Island Sound on July 30.

Maya needed to get a 6 hour qualifying swim in for her crossing, as do I.  Unlike the 6 hour Q-swim for the English Channel neither of our swims have a temperature requirement, EC is 60F or colder!  But naturally, the tougher the training the better prepared you’ll be.  So we thought we’d try and get an early one in.

The water started at about 61F/15C and warmed up to 64F/17C.  And frankly, it was tough conditions.  It was sunny… but if you recall, it was windy and quite cool out.  Which in the quarry, builds waves in the back corner.  Tough swim, but good training.

Anita, Steve and I got out around the same time… Maya was still going when I left!  Tough kid!

And you know how people say it is “all mental”, well I don’t really buy that.  To do a tough endurance race of any type, you have to be there physically and done all the training… then its all mental.  But that’s a bit of a leap… you still need to do the training.

Well, yesterday was my first long swim in 4 years.  And my first cold, long swim too.  I’m in good shape, pool-wise, but not open water swimming wise.  And in case you are wondering “how to they do that?” when you see people do an Ironman, or a 100 mile run (Ted & Pascal!) or a marathon swim… you do the training… and you condition your mind as you go along.

Well, I wasn’t there on either account yesterday.  I don’t recall ever beating myself up as much as I did mentally as I did yesterday.  Wow, was I negative, and I’m not usually like that.  But it shows you that I wasn’t ready.  Yesterday was really hard.  Harder than it should have been.  I got out and was reasonably hypothermic and reasonably exhausted… and mentally beat up.  I had swum 10k ,in 3:30, (an hour slower than an easy pool time) in 63F water (not that cold).

Just goes to show you… doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you still need to do the work.

PS.  … and speaking of mentally and physically tough… this seems like a good place to mention Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe.  Two of the greatest… sad to see them go.  I find people use “inspirationsal” too freely these days… but these guys were truly inspirational!  As tough and as talented as they were… everyone has bad days… and everyone has to put in the work!

Me and a couple of big Red Wings fans! Dylan and Gordie Howe!
Me and a couple of big Red Wings fans! Dylan and Gordie Howe!
Ali & me... pretty special moment... an amazing human being!
Ali & me… pretty special moment… an amazing human being!




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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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