That's what 100 LOST Swimmers look like! (click to enlarge any photos)
That’s what 100 LOST Swimmers look like! (okay, not everyone was in the pic… if you are going to count each head!)
(click to enlarge any photos)

I guess Dylan said it best as he and I laughed at ourselves and the incredible number of swimmers that came out for a great swim this morning:

Dylan: You do realize this is starting to look a little cult-ish!

To which I replied: “I know, how the hell are there this many crazy people that want to come out and swim in 54F/12C water?!”

Dylan: “You realize that your bullsh*t claim of being one of the biggest open water swim teams in the world may actually be true!”

All that is to say, that it certainly didn’t go unnoticed how many of you LOSTies showed up!  Amazing.  Really, really amazing.  And it was great to have you out.P6170005

Honestly, this season was setting up the same as most summers on Lake O have done over the past 11 years… at least temperature-wise.  We start out very cold… but our first swim is disproportionately large, only because anticipation for the first swim had been building for months.  This year we set a new record on the first swim (89), but the water was warm, (64F)… and the second week attendance dipped to “only 73” (that’s still huge!), but the water was very cold at 50F.  So then I assumed that this week would be much smaller, because last week would have scared off a bunch of people until the water warms up a bit… which is what usually happens.

But that’s where this is setting up to be a weird/amazing/record breaking summer… instead of scaring off people with cold water last week… we got bigger.  That never happens.

100 swimmers.  Wow.

100 swimmers… in 54F/12C water.  Incredible.P6170016

I wanted it to be 101 though… because it reminds me of Mount Everest.  Legend has it that when Sir Edmund Hillary first climbed Mt Everest, everyone naturally wanted to know exactly how high it was.  So they measured it very accurately… and it came in at 29,000 feet.  Not 29,001 feet… or 28,999… but 29,000 feet.  But they assumed that no one would believe that it was exactly 29,000 feet and that everyone would think they just rounded it… so they said it was 29,012 feet.  Because it looked more accurate.

We didn’t have 99 swimmers or 101… we had exactly 100.  Cool.P6170014

As I said in my pre-swim ramble… tons of new swimmers this year, but a special “tip of the hat” to Sean McNulty and his new tri team “Feet of Fury”!  They have certainly helped the numbers!  But I have one complaint… you can’t be a true LOSTie until you come for coffee after!  😉  We need you guys to come for a coffee after… and all the other newbies too!  Mind you we did have it at standing room only this morning! haha.

People like the culture of LOST.  Because we are welcoming and inclusive, regardless of your ability.  But that has been cultivated.  On the beach, in the water… and over coffee!  I know everyone has other things to do… but build in time for LOST Coffee at Brett’s coffee shop “Bean There” (NW corner of Lakeshore and Reynolds), at least once in a while.  Its part of the experience, getting to know everyone!  And this isn’t your ordinary crowd… some amazing people, so take advantage of it.P6170015

Speaking of inclusive and welcoming, I often make a point of special guests.  I find it pretty cool to meet the weird and interesting eclectic group of people we have that come out.  From Olympians to manatees.  From world champion open water swimmers (truly!…Greg) to marathon swimmers (the newest being Fanny, Darren, Geoff & John who swam the 20k race around Key West last weekend!).  A ton of triathletes that have done races all over, and there is always a great story with those.  Oh and among my favorite “inclusions” is when we get people from other countries that join us!  I guess at some point I should stop being surprised that people know about our little (can I still use that word?!) swim team in other countries… so much so that they stop in here regularly to swim with us.  New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Ireland, Scotland, England, Australia, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Italy, Dubai (shout out to Dianne today!)… that I can think of.  No, I’m still surprised.P6170013

But what I was getting at is we still had a new first on the “inclusion” list.  Margaret.  She is our first amputee to come and swim with us.  I’m not sure if it’s politically incorrect to point this out, but Margaret is cool with it… and I think it’s cool.  The rocks suck for the rest of us, getting in and out… but it’s a helluva lot harder with one leg.  But she didn’t mind and there was a ton of LOSTies right there that were glad to give her a hand, literally.  Ya, I like this group.  And our inclusive culture.

Oh, that reminds me… a huge shout out to Don Guloien and Ted Guloien!!!   I won’t give you the long version, (but it is probably my most amazing story ever, you can find that here, part 1, 2, 3, 4 ), but a couple of years ago Ted dropped dead right in front of me during the Hamilton Marathon.  I started CPR on him and several other people and I were able to get a pulse back… after 15 minutes of CPR and 5 shocks using an AED!  (Ted’s fine, btw… a long recovery, but he’s fine!).  I was talking to Don and he just donated a $2,200 AED to LOST Swimming in Ted’s name.  Kind of warms the cockles of my heart… pardon the pun.  Nice guys.P6170017

One last thing, many of you did Dylan’s “video clinic” last summer… and he’s offering it again this summer too.  Essentially you pay $20 and he paddles beside you, filming you on the GoPro, then he takes it home and analyses and edits it and sends you a copy.  It’s pretty cool.  And he knows a fair bit about swimming too… NCAA scholarship at University of Maryland and a member of 3 conference winning teams, as well as 10+ years with the top age group team in Canada (Oakville Aquatic Club), he’s even swum against Michael Phelps!  He got his butt kicked… but still.  And as of last summer, he’s even an Ironman, 11/2800 in the swim at Lake Placid.  So if you are interested, drop him an email to book a time during a LOST Swim.

PS.  Don’t forget about the first two Global Swim Series races of the season next weekend… (Mine over Matter, Caledon Quarry 1)… and start collecting your GSS points to qualify for the GSS – North American Championship!

And that’s all I’ve got.

See you on the Beach!




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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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