Happy Campers

Outside Magazine is getting into the game by supporting our nichey sport of open water swimming.

This article is about an open water swim camp for aspiring English Channel swimmers.  The camp is sponsored by Hall of Fame swimmer Ned Denison each year in Ireland.  I have never met Ned, but he is a legend in the open water world as much because of his swimming accomplishments as his larger-than-life personality.

This camp is not about s’mores and silly songs; Ned sets up to be as much a mental challenge as a physical one, because he feels that the Channel is the same way.  Reading about it reminds you of the descriptions of Hell Week that Navy SEALs go through, shivering and all.  One of the swimmers that is described in the article is San Diego’s own Barbara Held, whom I know first-hand is tougher than nails.  I met Barbara a couple of years ago when we swam the 24 mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim together.  After more than 10 and a half hours of swimming, Barbara finished eight minutes ahead of me.

The writer of the article tries his hand at building an analog between open water swimming and climbing Mt. Everest:  “MARATHON OCEAN swimming is a throwback. It’s tempting to compare the sport to alpine climbing, but this would be apt only if you scaled Everest without clothes, shoes, and oxygen, and if you had to deal with the real possibility that a yeti might emerge from the snowy depths to take a bite of you. In marathon swimming, you are almost literally naked.”  Now, THAT is imagery.

Enjoy the article.  You may want to grab a sweater after reading this one, too. http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/water-activities/swimming/Give-Us-Your-Tired-Your-Sore-Your-Shriveled-Masses.html?page=all

As for us, we are enjoying the mental lift of swimming outside every day now.  The local lake temperatures are up above 65 degrees, so we’ll be heading more to Lake Michigan to find colder water.  Either way, seeing the sun come up over an Illinois lake is magical.

See you at the beach.