Loren and I both have a big swim coming up in the next few weeks. Loren is doing a Lake O Crossing of 52k… and I’m doing the race tied for the longest distance in the Global Swim Series… Swim Across the Sound (the other one is the Kotlin Race in St Petersburg, Russia!). Both are 25k.
Swim Across The Sound is across the Long Island Sound from Long Island to Bridgeport, Connecticut. It should be in the upper 60’s, typically fairly rough, salt water… and yes, there are sharks, no incidents in the 29 years it has been run. But it does play games with your mind as a swimmer.
So one of the things you need to do to qualify for both of these swims is do a 6 hour qualifying swim. And unlike the 6 hour qualifier for the English Channel which must be done in water 60F/15C or colder, there is no temp requirement for Lake O or Swim Across the Sound.
So Loren and I hunted down some “warm” water in Lake O, last week, near Grimsby… it was about 60F. Claudia came and paddle for us. We made it 2 hours… but I could see I wasn’t going to make another 4 hours, I just haven’t put in the work this year to swim 6 hours in 60F water. So we just changed it into a training swim. We got out and warmed up… and went back in for another hour.
Chalked it up to a good training swim. But my race is in less than 3 weeks… so Mr Panic was visiting me. I needed to get this done. Partially because it is a requirement. But also because, as any experienced marathon swimmer knows, there are no givens in marathon swimming. In races this long, just because you’ve done it before, doesn’t mean you will be able to do it again. That’s endurance sports. And it is even more pronounced in open water swimming. So I wanted to make sure I could still do it. My last long swim was 20 hours and 52 minutes in August of 2012… my Lake O Crossing. Just like Loren’s upcoming swim.
Brett (the famous owner of the LOST coffee shop, “Bean There”!) and Claudia, another die-hard LOSTie, gave up their Sunday to help put this one behind me.
No screwin’ around this time. I just wanted to get it done. We went to the Welland Canal. 74F, flatwater and you can go for miles. Didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day too. Brett and Claudia took turns paddling, swimming and picnicking while I swam. We started at 8:30 am… and finished at 2:31. Done.
There is no such thing as an “easy” 6 hour swim… but this one came close. I’m always talking about having great adventures. But I’m also happy when really tough things go as planned. Even at the risk of being boring and straightforward. Simple is good. Doesn’t make for as good of story over beers, but the beer and bullsh*t can always be added after… I’m just happy to have it done.
Thanks Claudia and Brett.
Good luck Loren, happy to pace for you too, bud!