1) click on the Xterra logo above and order any of their “Canadian offerings”, no code required.
2) Order any of their wetsuits and get it shipped to a buddy in the US and have them send it to you. Then you can use the LOST code. Just drop Rob an email for the code if you want to order this way, President@GlobalSwimSeries.com
________________________ Training Camp coached by Olympians… in Barbados!
_________________________LOST email:If you would like to join the group of over 800 people from around the world that already receive our periodic (weekly, or so) email of an assortment of open water swimming, triathlon and other related stories, both local and international, just sign up here! Cheers, Rob.
- The hits keep comin’… another record, 122 LOSTies out this week! August 3, 2017
- Yet another consecutive record turnout… 116 swimmers!!! August 3, 2017
- Record turnout for LOST Swim… 112 LOSTies!!! July 19, 2017
- If you want something done… ask a busy person. July 12, 2017
- The older I get, the better I was… July 5, 2017
_________________________ Visitors to our little site since April 30, 2010:
Year 1 = 95,241 or 261/day Year 2 = 235,046 or 644/day Year 3 = 482,284 or 1321/day Year 4 = 431,873 or 1183/day Year 5 = 1,715,716 or 4700/day________________________
Since June 1, 2014
We LOVE visitors from other countries too!!! (both on the website and in the water, if you are in town!)
LOST Motto:Life is a Participation Sport! _________________________
"To make this team is going to be sweet, to fail is going to be very painful. Either way, the sun will come up the next day and life will go on. But those who strive, those who leave nothing on the table, those who will take the risk, will all be winners. Life is truly sweeter for those who truly live it. The world belongs, and will always belong, to the people who participate. Those who stand on the outside, who never risk, who never fail, cannot now, nor will they ever, understand the beauty of each breath of life. So don't feel sorry for those who fail, feel sorry for the majority that never participate. They'll just never understand, let alone feel, all that life can and should be."
- - Dick Jochums... (legendary swim coach, on making the 2000 US Olympic Swim Team, from the classic swimming book "Gold in the Water")
What Marathon Swimming (& Life) is all about…
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
- - Calvin Coolidge, President of USA, 1923 - 29
Well a picture is worth a thousand words… and the 9th Annual LOST Pier Pic says a lot about all the LOSTies… it was a great race and a lot of fun!
So here is the jist of it… it was our biggest and best race ever! I know each year I always say this year is going to be our best race ever, and some year I’ll be wrong, but I haven’t been yet! (at least about that :-p).
First of all we lucked out with the weather. Totally. It was supposed to pour rain and thunderstorm and the whole bit… but it held off until a few hours after the race. And instead we got perfect conditions! 72F/22C… flat water… incredibly hot and humid 35C+… which is fine if you are going for a nice swim! We also had our biggest turnout ever…
Number of Participants:
- 2016 – LR – 114 swimmers – 73 wetsuit, 41 naked (36%)
- – LM – 55 swimmers – 38 wetsuit, 17 naked (31%)
- total: – 169 swimmers – 111 wetsuit, 58 naked (34%)
… and here are the top placing swimmers in each race… and the ones who will have their names engraved on the LOST Race Trophy and the LOST Mile Trophy!
- Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Man’: 54:27, Geminio Grossi
- Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Woman’: 57:57, Megan Dodge
- Fastest ‘Naked – Man’: 52:29, Dylan Kent
- Fastest ‘Naked – Woman’: 58:51, Lynn Rodgers
- Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Man’: 24:08, Craig Ross
- Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Woman’: 31:27, Heather Winmill
- Fastest ‘Naked – Man’: 24:37, Luis Escobar
- Fastest ‘Naked – Woman’: 32:23, Sarah Gallagher
And if a picture says a thousand words then the video must be worth a few thousand! So I’ll spare you all from a book about the LOST Race and let you watch the video! It turned out pretty well. Enjoy… and thanks for coming out to swim or volunteer! See you at the 10th annual LOST Race & LOST Mile next year!
Lots of great pics and video, including drone video too! Thanks to John Johnston, Branko Vrzic and Phillip McCatty of Drone Therapy for all the great pics that we put together!
Hope to see you all at the Global Swim Series – North American Championship on Sept 4, at Woodbine Beach in Toronto!
PS. check out a bunch of historical facts, records and pics on the LOST Race tab above!
So what was the big secret surprise swim last week? It was the test run of the LOST Mile!
As you hopefully are aware, at the LOST Race this year we are introducing the LOST Mile as well! We got the idea from our race last year, when the water was 55F, so we had to shorten the race and made two shorter races; a 1k and 500m. We made lemonade out of the cold water we were dealt last year and it worked out well. But more than that it gave us the idea to introduce a shorter distance and make it a loop course at the finish!
It made for much better spectating and it allows for swimmers who aren’t up to the 3.8k distance to still get a good solid race in… and have some open water fun!
So last Saturday we thought we’d give it a try. We set up the course, essentially a long rectangle. And it’s a good thing we did set things up and try it out first… because we did have one big problem… the first buoy lost its anchor and started drifting across the lake… just as the swimmers where approaching it! haha.
We did a mass start, just for practice, for those that were interested. For those that weren’t, it didn’t matter, you could still do the course or do the normal triangular course. But only seconds after the start when the lead swimmers were headed out to the first buoy, it started drifting away. Not fast enough that anyone noticed at first… so the whole herd of swimmers were chasing it to try and go around it. It was hilarious… watching it from the shore at least! But I’m just glad it happened on the test day and not race day!
Miguel paddled out and got it and the swimmers continued on. Some did the short course, most did the Mile and a lot did 2 Miles! Well done!
Not surprising though… it was the best day this year! 68F, flat as glass and 86 swimmers. We even had a few of the LOST Sunrisers who got up early and swam a test swim of the 3.8k LOST Race route, just for fun. They were coming in just as we were starting out.
Speaking of the LOST Race and the LOST Mile, we are bringing back a great tradition.
The first year of the LOST Race there was a grand total of 8 swimmers. And one of my daughters, Maisey, who was 12 years old at the time (9 years ago… if my math adds up!) made some prizes. She took a few of the stones from LOST Beach and painted them up to look like medals. Kinda fun and quaint. The next year she did it again… except there were 39 swimmers! The following year she had to cut back and only give them to the top 3 swimmers in each division, because there was 64 swimmers! I think the following year we had everyone paint their own rock and then they picked a different one out when they finished. Anyway it was cute and pretty grass roots.
But we kept growing. And I’m not complaining about that, but we had to get insurance, timing systems, medals, caps, etc and the Maisey Awards kind of fell by the wayside. But at the LOST Board Meeting this year, Alan Swankie, volunteered his daughter to pick up the tradition! And what an awesome job she did. Very cool… the good ol’ days are back again!
Mind you, I am kind of excited about the LOST beer glasses too! (big thanks to LOSTie, John Stribany, for donating those!)
FAQ’s about the races:
- we made it very accommodating, we’ve done a few races ourselves and know what you like… you can switch from the LOST Mile to the LOST Race (& vice versa) on race day morning! (same price). Weather changes, confidence changes, temperature changes, etc… hey, it’s open water swimming! Just make sure you tell us at check in!!!
- you can switch from wetsuit to naked, for the same reasons! But again, tell someone at Registration!
- yes, we have race day registration! (cash only)
- but… the LOST beer glasses are limited to the first 133 (total) swimmers registered!
- note: there are 2 starting locations… especially if you plan on switching races!
- parking: Lots of street parking in both locations. We are there early so we get the good spots.
- transportation from the finish to start of the LOST Race, after the race: car pool, jump in with a friend, or speak up after the race and jump in with a buddy… in 9 years we’ve never left anyone behind!
- weather: yes, the weather is the weather… hopefully it’s good. As always with open water swimming we’ll play it by ear! Trust me, we are watching it… but we only need a 2 hour window too!
- stick around for the awards and the traditional group picture on the Pier after the race!
- for more info see the “LOST RACE” tab above!
See you on Saturday!
Ok, I know I’m a little slow getting this out from last week’s swim, but when see everything that has been going on this week you’ll see why!
First of all thanks to Mauro, Miguel and Katie for picking up the slack while Dylan and I were away in Long Island (more about that later). Sounds like you guys had a “different” swim!
Well I called it… I have been saying that this has been a pretty normal summer. It typically is cold to start, warms up slightly, rolls over and gets cold again… and then is warm. Well last week was the start of the warm period. I fully expect it to be warm for the rest of the summer… which will be all of August and probably all of September… at least!
The math had to add up. Everyone was surprised how cold the Lake was, even though air temp was abnormally hot. Well it’s a big lake. And takes a while to warm up. But once it does, it stays warm. So from here on out I think we will have GREAT swimming! You’ve paid your dues with the cold swimming, now it will be really nice.
Having said that, we don’t want it to be tooooo easy. Which is why I have also said that about 8/10 LOST Swims are usually flat as glass. And 8 out of 10 were. Last week was week number 9! Explains why it was so rough! Don’t worry, my prognostications aren’t usually that accurate!
So hats off to Mauro for organizing the “Pier Jump!” I understand that 50 people took the plunge in the big waves and some didn’t. Totally fine. As I always say, this is just “practice” and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Safety first. And I heard the waves were too big to get in where we usually do, as the rocks were being thrown around in the waves, so it made more sense to do a Pier Jump and swim out to the buoy and back. Apparently lots of people did it several times. Awesome.
In other news, I did the “Swim Across The Sound”. This is a world class event and part of the Global Swim Series. There really isn’t another race like it in the world.
First of all it raises money for cancer victims. Which is interesting, because it isn’t for cancer research, etc., but rather for victims… as in, if you get sick and have to leave your job, they might help you pay your mortgage, etc. Very cool.
This was the 29th year of the race… and they raised $2,000,000!!! Not over those 29 years, but on Saturday! They said that should help about 30,000 people.
So that sets up the type of environment for the race, really nice and caring people… who have some perspective about life and this event. Then there is the race… one of only 2 races in the GSS that are 25km (the other is the Kotlin Race in St Petersburg, Russia!). There were only 7 solos, 3 two person relays, and then 28 four and six person relays. So a lot of people to escort from Port Jefferson, Long Island to Bridgeport, Ct! There were over 100 boats in the floatilla… a sight to behold! I’ve never seen anything like it! Kind of the North American version of another GSS race, the great “Rottnest Channel Swim” in Australia… which is even bigger! (although “only” 20k! haha).
As for the swim itself. It was awesome. 25k swims are never easy, but it was “good”. The first 2 hours had me a bit worried… it was rough. Real ocean swimming. Not waves so much as chop. And chop is much harder to swim in than waves. But fortunately after a couple of hours it calmed down quite a bit. We had a near miss with a storm at about 4 hours… and then right at the finish another storm hit! I was fairly close to the front and made it into the harbour (although still about 500m from the finish!) when they called the race, over half of the other boats were still out there. But everyone was safe at least.
The time I got was 8:18 for a rough 25k. I would have placed 3rd. Oh well, that’s open water swimming. (Ask 14 year old Maya Farrell, who swam for about 23 hours across Lake Ontario only a few days before me… and had to be pulled 300m from Toronto because of a huge electrical storm!).
Speaking of Lake Ontario Crossings… Loren King made his! On Tuesday this week, I was lucky enough to make it in to Marilyn Bell Park to see the newest LOSTie become a Great Lake Swimmer! Loren had perfect conditions… 71f and flat as glass all the way across. Now I’ve seen plenty of swim reports that exaggerate the conditions, making them sound much worse than they were. Where 2-3 foot waves become 6-8 foot waves and 60f water becomes 50f water. The crazy thing is, if ever there is a time when one does not need to exaggerate it is when you are doing a marathon swim!!! Yes, Loren was lucky enough to get ideal conditions… and he honestly made it look easy… but there is still the small matter of swimming 50.5 km in 18:40… which is incredible. I trained a bit with Loren and saw the work he did. Amazingly not everyone that attempts a major marathon swim does all the work. He did. He could have handled some very cold and tough conditions as well as anyone. He was very prepared. But you train for the worst and hope for the best. He got the best. And as any experienced marathon swimmer will attest, you don’t always get the best conditions… so take ’em when you can get ’em. I think about the only 2 sports that are as heavily dependent on weather (and therefore luck!) are marathon swimming and mountain climbing. In Ironman, or ultramarathon running, bad weather can slow you down and perhaps stop you, but in marathon swimming and mountain climbing if mother nature says NO, well there ain’t much you can do about it.
All this is to say: Congrats Loren… helluva swim, buddy! Welcome to the club! Great to have another LOSTie with Lake O under his (or her) belt!
Speaking of ultra running in bad conditions… LOSTies, Darren, Dave and Al did the Death Race last weekend! 125 km in the Rockies… across 3 mountain ranges! 17,000 feet of elevation change! Oh, and remember how I said weather is a bigger factor in marathon swimming than in ultra-running, well it is… usually. But these 3 guys were at about 87 km into the race… up on a mountain ridge… above the tree line… when a huge 2 1/2 hour electrical storm hit!!! Oh, that’s at elevation, by the way… which means it was about 0C degrees.
Long story short… David and Darren ended up hypothermic (caught without the proper clothing… it had been very hot!). They dropped out at that point. They also had nothing to prove as they had both completed the race 2 years ago. Al had the proper clothing… and had a monkey to get off his back… because he was the guy who had to drop out 2 years ago. So he continued in what was then “just” pouring rain conditions. He made it. I believe I heard that only 27% of the solos made it this year. Well done, Al. And ya, well done, Darren and David!
And so other than doing all that, and following other LOSTies this week, and resting and drinking celebratory beers with them… I’ve also been working with Miguel, Darren, Mike, etc to get the LOST Race ready for you all next weekend!!! And the GSS – North American Championships 3 weeks after that… so you better show up!!!
PS. as you can tell, this is tough crowd to stand out in! haha. Some truly amazing people. Hardly worth mentioning, but I am doing the Ohio IM 70.3 in 2 weeks and let me tell you it ain’t going to go well. Oh well. But that is also the weekend that several LOSTies are doing the full IM at Mt Tremblant… that is one of the best IM in the world in my books! Almost taper time for them! (time to start training for me!). Good luck, Eileen, Mark, Andy… and all the others!
Each year we try and make the LOST Race better. And aside from controlling the water temp (haha) we’ve been able to do that. And this year is the 9th Annual LOST Race on Saturday, Aug 13th and it is going to be the best ever!
First of all, not only are we having the classic 3.8k LOST Race, but after we had to be creative last year with the cold water, we realized that a shorter race would work really well too! So this year we will be introducing the LOST Mile too!
The LOST Mile is a great way to include more people and for some a good practice to start building their way up to the LOST Race iron-distance swim!
Next we have designed a very cool LOST Mile logo that you will have on your cap and on your new LOST Mile medals!
And one of my favorite new additions is the LOST Pint Glasses! LOSTie, John Stribany, who donated a bunch of swag last year, including the LOST coffee mugs, which were such a big hit, is at it again! Except when he offered the pint glasses, I knew that would be a hit with this crowd! You can put whatever you want in it… but I’ve already tested mine out… and it works!
But aside from the great competitive fun for everyone; from Olympic swimmers, to Ironmen, to marathon swimmers, and yes, regular swimmers too… the best part is just the swim itself. On a spectacular point-to-point coastline swim past some of the most beautiful (and expensive) homes in Canada!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who knew… the world didn’t stop if I wasn’t there! haha. Thanks to Dylan, Darren and the gang for picking up the slack while I was swimming the 10k at the North Shore Challenge with a bunch of other friends and LOSTies!
Dylan was even kind enough to do a little write up for me!… enjoy:
A number of Losties were away this past weekend at the North Shore Challenge down in Lake Erie, but even despite that there was another impressive turnout at LOST on Saturday with 84 people showing up!
The water was 57F though a number of people said that they thought it was colder (I didn’t even have my dad’s magic rounding up thermometer I swear!) but that didn’t seem to stop anyone from having a good swim. It’s crazy to think how this year 57F is no big deal for most people to get a solid swim when only a couple years ago a lot of people wouldn’t even get in.
It was a pretty typical morning for LOST with calm waters and everyone having a good time despite the cold, kind of crazy how having 80+ people swim in water in the mid-fifties can be classified as a “typical” morning but that seems to be the case this summer.
On a special wildlife update though, 2 weeks ago we spotted a mink down at the beach and then this weekend while we were setting up the course there was a beaver swimming around in the lake! So while you don’t have to worry about sharks in Lake O apparently you might be swimming with beavers! How Canadian is that…
Overall it was a nice day for a chilly swim and a good morning to warm up for coffee at Brett’s after!
Hi LOSTies and LOST friends!
So the big “LOST Race” and the new “LOST Mile” are coming up very soon… Saturday, August 13! I hope that you have all registered and will swim it… but we need a few volunteers too!
This year you will get a very cool “Global Swim Series” t-shirt for volunteering too!
We are looking for some “on shore” and “on water” volunteers and shuttle vehicles. The races start at 8am, and generally are completely finished by 10:30am. If you are volunteering it is safe to assume you will be required between 7am and 11am (and yes, we sign for student volunteer hours!). Some of the jobs are only needed before the race and some only after, and most are pretty simple jobs… but we still need your help! If you are coming to watch, why not get involved and help… it’s a lot more fun!
We are always looking to get as much support ON the water as possible. This role involves paddling along with the swimmers, spotting and directing swimmers getting off course, and identifying swimmers in distress.
1) We are looking for kayakers, SUP’ers, Canoeists, zodiac or Jet-skiers. If you do not have any of these, but are comfortable in/on one, we can source it for you! If you cannot make it but can donate a SUP/Kayak for the morning – please also let us know.
Requirements: being comfortable in a kayak, on a SUP or any other on-water vehicle.
Contact Mike – firstname.lastname@example.org – with questions or to volunteer your time or on-water vehicle!
Volunteers are needed for the following positions:
2) Parking / Traffic Detail
Arrive at the start line one hour before the start of the race. Stand in a safe zone just outside the start line and direct racers to the parking areas. Easy, peasy.
3) Registration take-down
After the race starts, assist with registration area clean up and load bags into transport vehicles. Easy, peasy… again.
4) Body Marking
Arrive at the start line one hour before the start of the race… to draw on people! Preferably draw race numbers on swimmers.
5) Nutrition Handout
Arrive at the finish line immediately after the start of the race. Set up nutrition/snack table. Hand out drinks and snacks to swimmers as they come out of the water. Cool job because you get to see everyone as they finish the race!
6) Clean up Crew
After completion of the race, remove equipment, trash and leave the area better than we found it. Many hands make light work.
7) Transport Vehicles
Drivers with vehicles are needed to move the “bag check” and some equipment from the start to finish. Quick and easy.
8) Registration table
Help mark bags with swimmers name or number, load bags and transport swimmers bags from the start line to the finish line
9) Shore patrol
You get a walkie talkie and are “on-call” to drive along lakeshore and pick up any swimmers who could not finish. They will be pretty easy to spot… walking along lakeshore in their wetsuits! Most years we don’t have any, but we need to have someone on call.
Please email Darren at email@example.com to sign up for a position.
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!
With apologies to The Clash… but the sentiment is right! If you went into hiding after last week’s 48F dip, it’s time to come out and play! Not that 92 swimmers is a small group, by any stretch! Our second largest ever, in fact!
PS. little known fact: Joe Strummer was a big open water swimmer… take a look at where he filmed the greatest punk song ever recorded!
We started off unusually warm this year, then it got back to normal… cold … 62F, 50F, 54F, 56F, 48F (rollover)… and now back on track… 64F! Best swim so far!
64F/18C is nice. Not hot, by any stretch, but nice. In a wetsuit, which the majority still are, it is almost perfect. I don’t think I heard a single person getting out saying they were cold this week… first week for that!
Which leads me to the next topic… how many people got out of the water and weren’t cold? 92! Second biggest group ever! We had a handful that went in early to get long swims in. Loren, who is training for his Lake Ontario Crossing in less than a month is building to get his 6 hour qualifier completed. He did 4 hours on Saturday in that 64F water… naked, of course! So when I say that 64F is “nice”, it is… but it certainly becomes a bit more “challenging” when you are doing 4 hours in it, naked! Well done, Loren… and his pacers!
It was one of those mornings when you could have easily slept in. Or at least I could have. It wasn’t particularly warm out when I woke up. And was overcast and had rained. But by the time we got in the water it was sunny, warm and a beautiful day for a swim!
Many of you know that I often say that based on my experience over the past 11 years of Saturday morning swims that we probably get about 8/10 swims where the water is pancake flat… and 2/10 that are wavy. Well we’ve now had 6 that were pancake flat… so I’m thinking we are due for a wavy one. It’s warmed up now and will continue to warm, until the next rollover (which is usually much more mild than the first one of the season), but the lady of the lake likes to keep us LOSTies on our toes. There has to be some kind of challenge in it! So I’m calling it… 2 of the next 4 swims will likely be warm… but wavy! But that’s not a bad thing… try it, you’ll like it!
See you on the Beach.
PS. Congrats to all the LOSTies that did the Toronto Triathlon Festival and the Muskoka 70.3… great day for it!
I’m always saying that we have one of the best places in the world to swim… and we do… a little cold at times (like this weekend was!)… but if having beautiful, cold, clean water is the worst thing… I’ll take it.
We don’t have: men in grey suits (sharks… like in Cape Cod!), giant creepy spider crabs (Australia)… and we do have: water (unlike Kelso Lake right now! Thanks Lamb.) and our only wildlife is a cute family of minks (great pic, Adrian)!
On a related note… the new “No Salt, No Sharks, No Worries” t-shirts are in… and they are great! Thanks to my buddy, Ned Denison, who runs the open water swimming in Cork, Ireland for the idea… shirt’s in the mail, Ned!
I recall telling Brett this a couple of years ago… that the Lake always rolls over the Canada Day long weekend. It didn’t last year, but last year was a weird year all around, due largely to the cold winter we had when 4 of the 5 Great Lake froze over completely!
But true to form Lake O rolled over this weekend… as it has 5 of the last 6 years on this date. Which means it was 50F… okay 48F/9C. I rounded up a little before the swim. 50F sounds a bit warmer than anything in the 40’s!
So Mike set up the buoys for a 50m out and back swim (100m total). I think Loren, myself and maybe a couple others were the only ones to go naked. I told everyone to go out and swim a loop… then come in, get your head back together and collect yourself and do another. It is still just as cold, but it’s definitely easier the second time. Your body and mind know what to expect and it isn’t quite as shocking and it does get easier. But it’s still freakin’ cold.
So upon being about the last person in I was quite proud of doing my 2 loops naked. Then Loren came out. He had done 25 minutes (vs my 3 minutes!)… naked. Wow.
Then I was talking to a newer swimmer, Beth, she was one of the last people out and I had seen her get in earlier. I asked her if she was able to do 2 loops… she had done 10!!! Wow.
Then she and I walked by two newbies, on our way up the mat, who were among the last to get out too. I asked them how they had managed for their first LOST Swim. Typically newbies are pretty shocked to see what we can swim in. They had done 17 freakin’ loops!!! Unbelieveable. My 2 naked loops didn’t seem quite as impressive as what these 3 newbies had done… let alone Loren… but he’s in a different category entirely!
The truly amazing part is that 77 swimmers went into that 48F/9C water! And in some twisted kind of way… enjoyed themselves! Well done.
On the upside (I can always find the upside… and sometimes it isn’t even bullsh*t)… it was a beautiful sunny morning. Having a nice sunny day greet you and warm you when you get out makes a world of difference. And how about the water… that was a crystal clear and clean as water gets… if you could manage to put your face in! haha.
And the final bit of good news is… we are now past the first hurdle. This is all very normal and typical of Lake O. It is cold, warms up a little, then rolls over around July 1. But now it starts warming up. And any roll overs we get usually aren’t as severe as that first one. What I’m trying to say is… it’ll be warmer next weekend! So don’t give up now… you’ve paid your dues, and now is when the swimming starts to get good! So see you on Saturday!
PS. sorry about the pics… I left my camera in Miguel’s car, so we’ll have to make due with pics I stole from Loren, Lynn, Lamb, Alan, Adrian and a few others off of Facebook! haha.
Also, start planning for the LOST Race and the new LOST Mile… Aug 13. As well as the Global Swim Series – North American Championship… Sep 4!!! Both are going to be awesome!
I saw this post on the LOST Facebook page that a prospective LOSTie (Renee Devereaux, whom I’ve never met by the way), wrote that pretty much sums it all up:
“I was on the rocks this morning watching the goings-on to see if this would be a fun group to join. Within minutes I was envious of everyone in the water. Hoping to join soon, and wondering if anyone has suggestions for where I might find a second-hand wetsuit in the Oakville area. I’ll check Kijiji but happy to hear any other suggestions. Anyone looking to get rid of a wetsuit for an average-sized 5’9″ woman?”
Kinda cool. Within minutes she wanted to join… and get a wetsuit! I always tell people who are on the fence… come out and watch for one morning… you’ll be hooked! Well said, Renee! (And feel free to respond to Renee on Facebook if you have an extra wetsuit!)
After 11 years of swimming in Lake O every Saturday in the summer, you’d think I’d know the Lake pretty well… but it still surprises me once in a while.
I remember when I learned about it “rolling over”. In 2006, I didn’t know anyone that swam in the Lake regularly… well, because there was no one. So I remember going down one evening to check the water temp and it was 72F, perfect for the long swim I had planned for the next morning. And I arrived the next morning with my daughter, Maisey, who was going to kayak for me. She checked the water temp while I got ready. She said it was 55F!?!? I got kind of angry with her and told her to stop fooling around and go check it again. She did. She left it in longer… and it was actually… 52F! It had literally dropped 20F degrees over night!
Well, now we know that the Lake rolls over regularly. And that is in fact how it warms up. The roll overs are caused by the wind. You get nice warm stretches of weather like we’ve had these last few days, which warm the top surface water, but that can’t warm the water at the bottom of the Lake. Then you get a wind from the north and that blows all the nice warm surface water over to Rochester and Buffalo… which pushes the water on their side down to the bottom of the Lake… and that cold water at the bottom of the Lake then comes up on our side! Conversely a nice south wind brings the warm water our way and makes the other side of the Lake cold.
Eventually this happens several times over the summer and the whole Lake, from the surface to the bottom gets warmed all the way through. And since water holds its temperature longer than air does, that explains why often the Lake is still warm into September and even October, even though the warm weather is gone.
But the strange thing that happened yesterday, and that I’ve never experienced before was that the Lake was rolling over while we were actually swimming!
I measured the temp while I was setting up at 7:30… and it was 58F/14C… however by the time I actually got in at 8:30 (after playing the Walmart Greeter)… the temp had dropped to 54F/12C! So it dropped 4F degrees in an hour, while we were swimming! That’s amazing!
Having said that… all 76 swimmers got in and had a great swim! And everyone was in for quite a while, 15 – 45 minutes! I think everyone is getting tougher already! It really is amazing how seeing everyone else get in and do it helps you believe that you can do it!
See you next weekend!
Sorry, but I can’t help you with you’re “lost clothing” from the party on the weekend (but send me an invite next time!)… but I can help you with some great “LOST Clothing” from the Lake Ontario Swim Team!
In the name of full disclosure… I totally ripped off the idea the for the newest t-shirt… my buddy, Ned Denison, who runs a group like LOST in Ireland (Cork Long Distance Camp). He sent me a very tongue in cheek photo for Lake Michigan… followed by “so if there is nothing nasty in them big lakes… why bother?!”. But don’t tell him I ripped off his idea… he’ll want a percentage! haha!
You can order any of this and other great stuff in the LOST Store! (note: there are now 3 pages of items!)
The new T-shirts should be in by July 1. You can pick them up at LOST Beach or make other arrangement with Miguel or myself. We’ll charge you a bit extra, but we’ll ship it internationally too. We’ll just bring a bunch of them down to LOST Swimming on Saturday, after they come in too!
– cool new cotton T-shirt: “No Salt, No Sharks, No Worries” ($20)
– last year’s very popular: “light weight, LOST hoodie” ($30)
– and the warmer “LOST hooded jacket” ($65)
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Dylan@GlobalSwimSeries.com
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!
I must have got a dozen people email me asking me if we were going to cancel LOST Swimming on Saturday because there were thunderstorms forecast for the area. I told them my usual line, we’ll wait and see on the morning of, and if it is unsafe… we’ll cancel… but in 11 years I’ve never cancelled a swim.
It is important to learn how to swim in various conditions though too. Just because the conditions aren’t ideal, doesn’t mean you can’t go for a swim, you just have to know how to swim in “other” conditions. Note that I said you have to “know”, not “think you know”, how to swim in tough conditions. A lot of people “think” they know, but that’s when accidents happen. You need practice. Just like hill repeats on the bike or track workouts for a marathon. It might be hard to see the big picture, but it makes you a better all round swimmer.
And Saturday was a “practice” swim… practicing how to swim in cold water!
I also said “it is usually the temperature and water conditions” that determine if we swim… and for how long, not the weather. It was cold… 50F/10C! I don’t care who you are or how acclimatized you are… that’s cold. Just bordering on “stupid cold”.
So how do you swim in water that cold? Well you set up a buoy about 75 m out (parallel to the shore, not straight out, so you are still close to shore, if you want to make a quick exit!). If you are familiar with that temp then just go swimming. But if you aren’t, a good way is to get your hands, feet and face a bit wet… let your body know what’s coming! Fall in on your back, do a little backstroke, then head up front crawl, then put your face in… then swim! Naturally your body is not going to be happy with you, but once you get going, slow it down… slow your sprint stroke down. Slow your breathing down. Take the panic situation out of your mind and relax. Easier said than done. Which is why the “relax” part has to be a conscious thought that you have to remember to do.
The thing about cold water at some point, probably in the low 50’s, is that it changes from “cold” to just plain “painful”… on Saturday it was “painful”. Cold hands, cold feet, ice-cream headache. The crappy thing is that you don’t even get sympathy from onlookers because it “looked” like a beautiful sunny day for a nice dip in the Lake! People understand hot… if we were walking on hot coals people would have been shocked! You need to throw them in the Lake to have them appreciate how cold it was!
But society and certain laws tend to frown on that.
So now that I’ve said everything bad there is to say about swimming in cold water, would it be weird to say we had “fun”? Because we did! Laughing and screaming (yes, I’m lookin’ at you, Duane! haha!)… and acting like little kids having a real adventure. There were 73 LOSTies out swimming in 50F water… and we had fun!
I told people that it was going to be cold. But that they should try and do 2 loops. Swim one, come out and get themselves “collected”… and then do another. It is still just as cold and painful… but oddly somehow easier. This is the part I was talking about earlier… practice. And you get better with practice.
The thing I didn’t count on was that people did 3, 4, 5… even 6 loops! Amazing. That is also how you practice it. If each loop was 150m, it would not have been safe to have done 600m straight (4x150m), but to break it up and use your head, it is safe.
And guess what? You do end up as a better swimmer because of it. Now I realize that this might not have been a big cardio workout that you require for your upcoming triathlon… but it wasn’t meant to be. You can do that anytime. If you think there is nothing to be gained from a quick, cold dip in the Lake, then you still don’t get it. It was the workout that prepared you for cold water… and for practicing for the unexpected. Because that’s what you get with open water swimming.
The example I like to use is when Claudia went to ITU World Champs in Budapest a number of years ago. She, like everyone when they first start swimming with LOST in the spring, didn’t like, and wasn’t good at, swimming in cold water. But she became a LOSTie, learned how to do what we just did… and she went to Budapest and guess what?… the water was very cold. People were freaking out. Dozens didn’t start. Lots didn’t finish. And she was fine. And she doesn’t like cold water (honestly, nobody does!). Because she knew how to swim in cold water… she had practiced! (PS. she killed the bike and the run too!). But somehow, swimming with other people having fun, seems to make it much easier… or at least more enjoyable!
Besides… you know all those stupid, little, cliche meme’s that you (and I) click “like” on Facebook?… like “Live the adventure, baby!”, but you know that closest most people get to doing it is just that… clicking “like”. Well, turns out you aren’t a hypocrite afterall… you might not have gotten your 3.8k swim in holding 1:30’s per hundred in… but you just did “Live the adventure, baby!”
That’s all I’ve got… see you on Saturday!
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.
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!
So several people have asked me about the weather tomorrow as it is supposed to be 30C and possible thunderstorms… are we going to cancel? When would we cancel a swim?
Of course the number one priority is safety, and we will cancel if it is unsafe.
Having said that, in 11 years of Saturday morning swims we’ve never cancelled a swim.
I’ve had a few Saturday mornings when I get of bed and look out the window and say “nobody is going to show up, it’s (raining, windy, cold, foggy, etc)… but I should show up just in case… and it ends up with a ton of people and we get a nice swim in anyway! We’ve swum in the rain a few times… but fortunately we were wet already anyway! Swimming in the fog is really cool too… I believe only once, in 11 years, did we cut a swim short because of lightning. Forecasts are a crap shoot, and all we need is an hour or so, and we almost always get it!
To be honest, it is the water temperature and the waves that are bigger factors in how long we swim. Again, I don’t think we’ve ever not swum because of water temp… just had shorter swims. Even when the water is “stupid cold” or there are big waves we usually get a bit of a swim in, we just cut it a bit shorter. We still err on the side of safety… and we’ll show you how to swim safely in these types of conditions.
So the long and short of it is… “this is open water swimming… and you get what you get!”
I’ll see you on the beach tomorrow at 8:00!
PS. we are always happy to have more spotters out in kayaks and on paddleboards! So bring your spouse and a kayak or paddleboard if you have either! haha. (I know Mike and Dylan are away tomorrow, so the more the merrier!)
Well that was really something… 11th year of LOST Swimming and we are still having lots of “firsts”!
First of all, that was the warmest opening day ever… June 4 and 64F/18C! Wow. Flat as pool water too. That’s as nice of conditions as the middle of summer.
Now that we are done with last summer (2015), I think it is safe to say that last summer was the… how shall I put this… “toughest” summer of swimming in Lake O since we started in 2006! It was cold. Due largely to the very cold preceding winter and large amount of ice on the Great Lakes. And it was rough. I have no idea why we had so many rough days, but we did. And the rough water keep the Lake rolling over. Which kept it cold. Fortunately last year was not the norm.
So to all those that slugged it out last summer… well you are all tougher and better open water swimmers because of it! And for those that didn’t swim last summer… well let’s just say you timed it right for this summer! Having said that, I’ll take weather and water like today! And I hope that is indicative of the summer to come!
Of course, the second big deal was the number of swimmers we had out yesterday… 89!!! That is a new record, not just for opening day, but ever! The previous record was 86!
I always say that if you can beat the temperature to swimmers ratio, you are doing very well… meaning that if you have more swimmers than degrees (F degrees), then you are doing well. So at 64F it would be very impressive to have 64 swimmers… and we blew that away!
We had swimmers from all over. Mississauga, Burlington and Oakville, of course, but also Toronto, Milton, Richmond Hill, Barrie… and the winner of the biggest road trip for a LOST Swim goes to Patrick… he drove up from Virginia… just to come swimming with us!!!
You might think that is crazy, and I’d have a hard time arguing with you about that, but it does tell you that we do have something pretty special going on here… and it is because of all the amazing swimmers and the enthusiasm they bring to the group. Patrick is a pretty amazing guy, he’s climbed Everest and dozens of other major peaks, swam at Notre Dame in University and like myself tried, and wasn’t successful, at crossing the English Channel last summer. So he’s going back this year to finish the job! He got in a bit longer swim with Hamilton LOSTie, Lorne… who is also doing a marathon swim this summer, across Lake Ontario!!!
Also I would be remiss if I didn’t wish a hearty congratulations to our 4 LOSTies who completed the 40th annual, 20 km, “Swim Around Key West” at the same time we were swimming in Lake O! Geoff Farrow – 5:45, Fanny Grenier – 6:38, Darren Osborne – 7:09 and I haven’t heard how John Stribany did yet (results aren’t posted, and no pics yet). I just got an email from Darren listing the times and “we are off to hydrate!” 14 of us LOSTies did this race in 2012… and I recall what the post-race hydration involved…
Congrats to all 4 of them for their first true marathon swim! (10k or longer).
It was also interesting to see the show of hands at the beginning our swim. Probably 3/4 are triathletes, shout out to Sean McNulty’s group, the Feet of Fury tri team, who brought about 15 people! Also it looked like of the 89 people, over half were new, it is amazing to me how it keeps growing! I guess we must be doing something right.
One last thing. So as you can see, we are a welcoming group. And as you can see there are some amazing people to meet… and don’t worry if you are new, lots of people are… but do make a point in joining us for coffee after. Getting to know everyone is the real bonus.
PS. Another interesting person will be joining LOST, starting next Saturday… hint: he swam the 10k in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing… so come out for a swim and coffee… and you can meet him, and really embarrass him… ask him for an autograph!
For the 11th consecutive year I will be down at the beach by the Navy Street Pier at 8:00 am on the first Saturday in June to go for a swim (and every Saturday after, until September or so). The big difference now is how many more people will be there with me compared to 11 years ago.
As I’ve been sitting here typing this story, I’ve seen 6 email notifications that people have joined. Amazing. So I went in and counted how many have joined so far this year… 71. I don’t know if you think that is a lot or not very many, but it seems like a lot to me. I mean it is a lot considering where this started.
This started with me swimming in Lake Ontario, training to swim the English Channel in 2006. Back then nobody swam in Lake Ontario. And I do mean NOBODY. I had never seen anyone swimming in Lake O (and I live by the Lake), I had never met anyone who had swum in the Lake, hell, I had never even heard of anyone who swam in Lake O other than back in the “old days”.
People told me “you can’t swim in Lake Ontario, it’s too polluted”. Or “you’ll come out come out with 3 eyes or green skin”. Seriously. People said that. I don’t think they actually meant that I would come out with 3 eyes or green skin, but they did think that it was a “gross” place to swim because it was too polluted.
Obviously this wasn’t always true, people used to swim in Lake Ontario all the time. The first races at the CNE were held in 1925 and continued for decades. By the time that Marilyn Bell made the first crossing of Lake O in 1954 people had been swimming in organized races in the Lake for more than 30 years. But it fell out of fashion at some point shortly after that. And I’m sure that pollution played a role in it too. The 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s weren’t the best years for environmental control. But I think things started turning around in the 80’s and were probably fine by the 90’s. There is still room for improvement today (thanks to organizations like “Lake Ontario Waterkeeper” for helping with that). Turns out it is one of the best places in the world to swim. But, like I said, by 2006 the Lake was still empty.
When LOST started in 2006 there was only 1 open water race in Ontario, and it wasn’t even in Lake Ontario. And it shut down due to lack of interest 2 years later. Open water swimming definitely was not on an upswing when LOST started.
But I didn’t know that. And I really didn’t care. I hadn’t swum in 17 years when I started swimming again in 2006. I hadn’t been in a pool since June 5, 1988 at Olympic Trials in Montreal. And like everyone else at the time, I had never really heard of open water swimming. I was so sick of swimming at that point that I really did not want to get back in a pool and swim again. The idea of training or racing, to see how much slower I had gotten, had very little appeal. Which is why I got into running over those years instead. And eventually that lead me to another sport that was just starting to become popular… triathlon. In 2003, Alex, Peter, Deanna and myself did our first triathlon… Ironman Lake Placid.
That’s when I realized that open water swimming might be fun. I liked still swimming, just not pool swimming (yes, I swim in a pool now though!). So naturally I jumped in way over my head and before I even started training again, I chose a goal… I was going to swim the English Channel.
I now had a bunch of fun-loving, beer-drinking, running and triathlon buddies that loved the idea and were there to help me train, even though we had no idea how to train someone for the English Channel. The internet was still young and we had never met anyone who had swum the English Channel or any other marathon swim for that matter. That’s where LOST Swimming started.
In the end, I swam for 12 hours and 5 minutes in cold and very rough conditions in the English Channel when my son, Dylan, and buddy, Richard, pulled me out unconscious, hypothermic and with pulmonary edema. Not a great start to my swimming come-back. But despite that failure, I had found my love for swimming again. And so I decided that the next summer I would continue to swim in Lake O. And all my running and triathlete buddies who had helped me train the previous summer decided to join me.
And here we are. 11 years later.
Last year I believe we had something like 150 members of LOST Swimming, with as many as 86 people coming out on a Saturday. Making us the largest open water swim team in North America and one of the largest in the world. There will be at least 4 open water swimming races in Lake O this summer, including the Global Swim Series – North American Championship at Woodbine Beach in Toronto. There will also be at least 15 open water races in Ontario this summer and more across Canada.
The other direct result of the growth of LOST Swimming was the creation of the Global Swim Series, that many of the same people involved in LOST (and the Toronto Island Lake Swim, Ottawa’s Bring On The Bay and the Embrace Open Water SwimFest) helped bring to life 2 summers ago was the Canadian Open Water Swim Series (COWSS), before we opened it up to the world and it became the Global Swim Series (GSS) last summer.
As of yesterday, the Global Swim Series had about 33,000 participants, in 67 races, in 18 countries including: Canada, USA, Mexico, Haiti, St Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Ireland, Spain, Austria, Greece, Morocco, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia. And new for this year the GSS will even have a Global Championship Series:
- GSS – North American Championship – Toronto, Canada – Sept 4, 2016
- GSS – European Championship – Mallorca, Spain – Oct, 2016
- GSS – South American Championship – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Jan, 2017
- GSS – Pacific Championship – Sydney, Australia – Feb, 2017
- GSS – Global Championship – Cancun, Mexico – April, 2017
So I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb by saying that you are definitely catching open water swimming on an upswing. Both locally, nationally and globally. It is apparently the fastest growing participation sport in the world.
So all this is to say… I hope you join us for a nice dip in Lake O and a coffee afterwards this Saturday… where it all started… LOST Beach!
PS. yes, the rumors are true… the water is already warm!
See you on the Beach,
- A couple of years ago myself and a few others did CPR on a runner that collapsed near the end of the Hamilton Marathon (that’s another story, but a very cool one, scroll down and you can find the long version). A large part of it was because we were able to start quickly and because we had an AED to shock his heart back to life. We worked on him for 15 minutes and shocked him 5 times… and he survived. I spoke with him and his brother (Ted and Don Guloien) a couple of days ago and they are going to donate an AED to LOST Swimming. How cool is that.
- France told me of a good place to get custom ear plugs. As you might know I’ve literally broken my eardrums dozens of times and had one eardrum replaced twice. I always swim with earplugs. They protect your eardrum from rupturing and believe it or not, they keep your eardrum and head warm. France got a pair for her daughter at Connect Hearing in Maple Grove Plaza, $63 each. They aren’t cheap, but they are worth it.
- I saw this kayak and paddleboard on sale at Home Depot (of all places). Cheap and cheerful, $400 for the paddleboard and $300 for the kayak. Pretty decent prices. We are always happy to have more kayakers and paddleboarders out for LOST Swims and the LOST Race!
- We always get about 65% off on Xterra wetsuits and paddleboards. So click on the Xterra Wetsuits logo on the right hand side of the page and have a look around. If you find something you like, drop me an email and I’ll send you the code. LOSTies have bought over 200 wetsuits through Xterra, they love us!
- Support a good cause and get a good deal on a paddleboard or kayak! Charterability, an organization that takes handicapped people out on the Lake to see the beauty that we get to see all the time, is having a dinner to raise money for their program. Charterability always lets us use their pontoon boat for the LOST Race! They are also having a silent auction with over $10,000 worth of prizes (this is a good one!)… including paddleboard, 2 kayaks, big screen TV, 10 laps in an exotic car at Cayuga Speedway… and a ton of other items!
… Hurricanes and freaky, alien-lookin’ Horseshoe Crabs!
So we have 3 kids.
Dylan swam NCAA at University of Maryland and will be around LOST Swimming (and GSS) this summer. Ask him about the $20 video swim clinics that many LOSTies did with him last summer.
My 2 daughters, Maisey and Jillian, are both on swimming scholarships too, at Delta State. The cool thing is that they both landed the best summer jobs ever. Maisey is an ocean lifeguard for the second year at Hilton Head in South Carolina! They don’t make summer jobs better than that!
Jillian is doing much the same thing. She’s an ocean lifeguard at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina too. She sent me these two pictures. Shows you the difference between lifeguarding at the Y or even at a lake… and ocean lifeguarding!
Okay, I know I’ve been a little remiss in putting up posts over the winter. I’d like to say that it was because I took a break from open water swimming over the winter, but of course, the opposite is true. I’ve been working hard (along with my son, Dylan) on growing and developing the Global Swim Series, which we started last year.
That’s a whole other story, but essentially we have grown it from just a handful of Canadian races (it was known as the Canadian Open Water Swim Series the year before) and about 2,000 swimmers, to over 32,000 swimmers, in 61 races, in 17 countries including: Canada, USA, Mexico, Haiti, St Kitts & Nevis, Bermuda, Barbados, Brazil, Ireland, Spain, Austria, Greece, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.
So it has actually been a busy winter with open water swimming for us!
But now we are almost back to full circle and about to start the first LOST Swim of 2016! There are a few crazies that have already been in (ie Loren and Juan, training for their Lake O Crossings this summer!), but for the rest of us “normal” crazies, the first Saturday in June is always the first big day… so that’s Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 8:00 am, at LOST Beach!
This should be an amazing summer, tons going on. Like I said, there will be a few Lake O Crossings this summer, a few other marathon swims (Darren, Fannie and Jeff doing the 20k Swim Around Key West on June 4), and probably a few more swims that I have forgotten about, but rest assured I’ll keep you apprised as the summer goes on!
Speaking of new swims, I wanted to let you all know that this year for the 9th annual LOST Race on Aug 13, 2016 we will also be holding the first annual “LOST Mile”!
The 3.8k LOST Race will be exactly the same, however, after the start of the LOST Race at Maple Grove the race organizers will hustle down to the Navy St Pier (LOST Beach) and start The LOST Mile. The LOST Mile will be a loop course, instead of the point-to-point route like the LOST Race.
I’ve wanted to add a shorter race for years, to allow more people to participate. It’ll be perfect for anyone who hasn’t quite worked up to the 3.8 km distance but still wants to do a good solid open water distance race (1 mile = 1.6 km).
After we had to shortened the LOST Race last year to 500m and 1k distances because of the cold water (55F/12C) we did realize a couple of things. One, that we could offer a couple of distances at the same time, and two, that having a loop course near the finish was actually great for the spectators to watch the race. And so the LOST Mile was born!
2015 LOST Race Winners
1 km (*shortened due to water temp, 55F/12C)
· Fastest ‘Naked – Man’: 16:45, Loren King
· Fastest ‘Naked – Woman’: 18:20, Sara Nicholson
· Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Man’: 11:40, Greg Streppel
· Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Woman’: 16:24, Lynn Rodgers
500 m (*shortened due to water temp, 55F/12C)
· Fastest ‘Naked – Man’: 10:11, Charles Bolduc
· Fastest ‘Naked – Woman’: 9:27, Kristen Sanhueza
· Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Man’: 8:14, Dylan Kent
· Fastest ‘Wetsuit – Woman’: 11:13, Lisa Pickering
Well that’s it for now. We’ve already had a ton of people sign up for LOST Swimming and the LOST Race. We should have a logo up for the LOST Mile shortly too… so go ahead and register for another fun summer of open water swimming… and LOST coffee!
I look forward to seeing you all in the lake, wetsuit or… naked! And I know I say this every year, but “this is going to be the best season of LOST Swimming ever!”. Stay tuned for some very exciting news from GSS this summer too! And I also have it under special advisement that there will be one or two Olympians that are joining LOST this year… this is going to be fun!
PS. I’ve been right about it every year too, because it does keep getting better!
PPS. Yes, it’ll likely still be “a wee bit chilly” when we start… but we aren’t the only ones who swim in chilly water! Enjoy…
Now that’s a fun way to roll into the New Year!
Maybe I’m getting old, but New Year’s Eve was no biggee. And unless I’m going to Time Square it usually isn’t… and I’ve never been to Time Square for New Year’s Eve.
However, New Year’s day was lots of fun! We had the 6th Annual LOST Polar Bear Dip! And it was great! Our biggest LOST PBD ever… 37 dippers, twice as many people watching all the fools in the water… -2C air temp and +3C water temp… perfect! Well maybe not perfect, but better than the last two freakin’ cold winters!
Then on Jan 2 a whole bunch of us made the trek out to the Pan Am Pool in Scarberia to do 100 x 100’s on 100 (which in non-swimming lingo means swimming 100 meters, 100 times on a 1:40 pace time = 10k swim!). Great new pool… in the middle of nowhere. Should have been in Oakville in my (biased and) humble opinion, but that ship has sailed.
Bud did a great job getting out a lot of the Etobicoke Masters, Lynn represented Burlington Masters, Joanne, Michael and Will were the pride of the Oakville Masters… and of course, most of them were (or will be!) LOSTies as well! I believe we had about 30 swimmers out for it, not too shabby! I was worried there would only be 5 or 6 of us, but they just kept coming!
I have been nursing a bad back for almost 3 weeks now and was hoping it would cut me some slack and let me do the 100 x 100’s… well we came to a compromise. My back said you can do it, but… you can only do open turns! That’s a lot of slow open turns! But we got it done! I think there was only about 7 of us that were able to do all 100 on 1:40, but it doesn’t matter, everyone was able to over-do it to their own ability. I’m pretty sure everyone was feeling it the next day.
Special tip of the hat goes to Tara Norton (our celebrity former pro-Ironman guest). She came to mind when I turned to Brian at #38 (or 3.8k) and said “I’d much rather do 62 more than have to get out and jump on the bike for 180k!” I’m thinking Tara would have loved to have gotten out and jumped on the bike then! But she did the whole thing… and earned some real “pool cred”… although I did say to her when we finally finished 2 hours and 47 minutes later when I saw her grimacing because she had to pee so badly she thought she was going to explode… “you’ve got the swimming down, but if you really want to be a true swimmer you have to learn how to pee in the pool!” (of course, I was joking… I’d never pee in the pool! eww.).
Scary thing is she went home and ran 12k. She wins. I made it to Bud’s truck and ripped open a box of chocolates he had received from a client an scarfed them down. And that was just to get me home. When we got home, Joanne and I went out for lunch. I had the “Big Ass” burrito… about the size of a small child… and then held the couch in place for about an hour and a half. Overall I probably broke even on calories for the day.
But… a good time was had by all. Well done everyone!
Only 5 or 6 months until the start of LOST Swimming! Woohoo!
Come on out to the 6th Annual LOST Polar Bear Dip… it is kind of like the LOST Beer Mile… if you don’t want to participate that’s okay… it’s fun just to watch!
But it’s more fun to dunk!
Same LOST place, same LOST time… New Year’s Day, Friday, Jan 1 at noon sharp at LOST Beach!
See you there!