July 23, 2016... a chilly 57F/14C... and 87 tough LOSTies... and a great swim!
July 23, 2016… a chilly 57F/14C… and 87 tough LOSTies… and a great swim!

So we had another great swim day on Saturday… the stats: 87 swimmers, 57F/14C.

I could go on and on about how 57F is still pretty chilly, or how it is weird that 87 LOSTies found it no problem to swim in water that cold… but I won’t.  Because it is becoming the norm!  Well done.

87 LOST flip-flops... that's a lot of flip-flops!
87 LOST flip-flops… that’s a lot of flip-flops!  (and the LOST Crawl in the background too!)

As most of you know I try to get a quick dip in most Saturdays too, but usually not as long as the rest of you, usually play the “Walmart Greeter” for LOST, which is like being the host at your own party.  Being the good host I usually end up with 100 short chats and conversations with everyone.  Obviously I don’t mind doing this, and apparently I have the right personality to do it too… I truly enjoy chatting with everyone and being the fly on the wall, seeing how everyone makes out.  It’s kinda fun.

Luis and Erin... and several others even went "naked" too! Well done.
Luis and Erin… and several others even went “naked” too! Well done.

The one thing I did notice this week, because I had almost the exact same conversation with 2 people… almost verbatim.  It went something like this:

me: how was your swim?

LOSTie: great, I did 3 loops!  And I wasn’t too bad with the cold.

me: wow, that’s great for 57F!

LOSTie: I just started this year and on my first day I was too terrified to even do one loop!  I just swam back and forth along the shore!  I was so scared, and I found it hard to breathe, but I’ve learned to relax a bit now and found 3 loops easy!

me: okay, that is really cool!  I find that a lot of people are like that.  That once they try it, and calm down, and get their wits about them, they really can do much more than they thought they could.  Even to the point where it not only isn’t scary anymore… it actually becomes really, really enjoyable!

So then I saw a squirrel or something and got distracted and went on to one of my 100 other mini conversations… and had almost the EXACT conversation with another LOSTie!  Right down to the fact that she had done 3 loops today too.

The other thing was that this LOSTie told me that when she had first started, she was terrified… but another LOSTie had swum breaststroke with her for a whole loop, just to help her out and get her around to the point where she was comfortable…. and here is the cool part… she did that with someone  else today too!  Paying it forward.  Kind of a cliche phrase… but true and really nice.  I like LOSTies.


Most of you have heard me say it a 100 times, it really doesn’t matter how fast you are (I get lots of emails that say: “I want to join LOST but I’m not sure if I’m fast enough”.  To which I say: “honestly, it doesn’t matter.  You should be able to swim about 500m comfortably… but that’s about it.  It is really just a practice and a chance to get out and have a swim in a race like situation… without the pressure of a race.  It changes your perspective on open water swimming… just swim because it’s nice.  You can still swim hard and take your lap times on your Garmin if you want (thanks for the measurement, Jim… it was about 400m today!)… but just do whatever the hell you want… and enjoy yourself.

That's a lot of LOST swimmers... and that's a nice day for swimming!
That’s a lot of LOST swimmers… and that’s a nice day for swimming!

A final LOSTie, Jason, that I was talking to at Bean There after over coffee is an awesome new convert to open water swimming, with the quote of the day: “man, I wish I’d know about this 20 years ago!!!”

A couple of international tip o’ the hat’s today too… great to have a new LOST Aussie, who dropped in to swim with us on Saturday!… and you may or may not have seen on the LOST Facebook page but 2 LOSTies attempted to swim the English Channel last week!

Unfortunately one was successful and one wasn’t.

...some poser in a wetsuit... and 3 tough guys/gals! Patrick and Loren probably swam over 1k... wow.
…some poser in a wetsuit… and 3 tough guys/gals! Patrick and Loren probably swam over 1k… in 48F… wow.
Moments after swimming the EC! Sporting his LOST Swimming cap too!
Moments after swimming the EC! Sporting his LOST Swimming cap too!

A huge congrats to Patrick McKnight who swam the Catalina Channel a week ago… and then within a week also conquered the English Channel!  You may have met Patrick, he is the guy that drives up from Fairfax, Virginia (yes, Virginia!) just to swim with us, and is a self-proclaimed “LOSTie for life!”  Amazing guy… chat with him over coffee at Bean There… looooots of cool stories!

And long time LOSTie, Steve Faulkner, was also over in Dover for his 4th shot at making the crossing.  Didn’t work.  Which sucks.  No two ways about it.  But Steve has also done a whole bunch of amazing swims, including the 47 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and the Catalina Channel as well.  Just a string of sh*t luck with the EC.  Someone who participates and tries will always have my respect.  (read the “LOST Philosophy” quote to the right!)

The neat thing I think is that I can relate to both Steve and Patrick.  I’ve had some huge successes in swimming that I am quite proud of… but I’ve had one big failure too.  And it was the English Channel.  But I had another one that took me forever to accomplish too.  As I was saying to Steve, I remember trying to qualify for my first Boston Marathon… you know how many marathons I ran before I finally got my BQ?… 14.  And let’s be frank, it makes a good story now, because I finally got it, and have run it 4 times now… but it wasn’t fun then.  But I just kept trying and persevered.  I don’t believe in the bullsh*t line “you can do anything if you really put your mind to it and try your hardest”… mainly because we all live in the real world and have all kinds of other constraints… but  I think the Rolling Stones said it best “you can’t always get what you want… but if you try sometimes… you’ll find… you get what you need”.   And if Steve and I have some cool stories about attempting to swim across the English Channel… and have some LOST friends to tell them too… well, I can live with that.



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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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