It rained at my house last night and I was a little unsure about swimming today even though the weather was actually looking really nice when I work up this morning. I didn’t know how hard it may have rained further upstream though and what it might have pushed down the creek. When I got to the beach Sylvia was already there and was planning on getting in, and Niel said the same when he got back from taking the water temp (54, buoy is running 52). I figured if they were getting in I would too. Now that I’m out I’m glad I did because it was a good swim for me. I felt strong in the water and was out front for most of the swim which I haven’t been in quite a while. Apparently the occasional double is paying off :)
Ultimately Chad joined us and we had 4 swimmers on the beach. The walk into the water was exciting… cold with really tightly spaced swells headed right for us. I did a lot of swearing and complaining at first… it seems to help :) Once we got a series of waves that were too big to dodge it was time to get swimming. There was a lot of uphill action today, the swell was really aggressive. There were spots where I felt like I swam up onto a plateau of multiple swells pressed right into each other and swam a few strokes riding on top before finally sliding down the back of the swell. We made a few short stops on the way to the end of the pier because Chad and his goggles were having some disagreements, but we didn’t make a real regroup stop until we were a little ways off the tip of the pier.
Our plan to this point was to swim out and turn left… everything else was TBD. Niel suggested the Poly Pier, Chad wasn’t sure he wanted to go that far, so we shot for the creek instead. On this leg I started out in the back and caught up to Niel… I drafted for a minute and realized that I was swimming a little too fast to hang right there without hitting his feet. I shifted over and swam at his side, and then just sort of took off past him and Chad. I was warm at this point and feeling strong so I just let it go and swam out towards the phantom buoy.
The swells were so big and persistent that I couldn’t see the one buoy we still had over by the pier. Once I felt that I was getting close I made a quick stop just to look and see if I was close. The other guys ended up stopping when they saw my head go up so we called it close enough. Now we had to negotiate where to from here. Chad wanted to go back over the top of the pier, everyone was on board with that so we turned back around and swam head first in the an increasingly agitated ocean and swam back to where we had come from.
We were really getting pushed and tossed on this leg but I loved it. My stroke was on, I was doing a good job of timing the mess coming at me, and was really effective in cutting through the chop. Part way back I swam over the top of a fishing line… I hate that! Such an unnerving feeling! The line was really taught though, who knows how far out the hook was or if it was already hooked into something. The line hit me mid chest and I felt it move down me all the way to my quads… luckily my hands were elsewhere and didn’t get caught up in all that! From there I tried to arc out a little harder from the pier just to avoid another line.
We all regrouped off the edge of the pier and worked on what the rest of our swim was going to look like… all the while we were getting pushed closer to the pier… it’s a good thing we stopped so far out! We decided to swim out to the second buoy on the point side, down to the first buoy and then in. We really wanted to keep some space between us and the pier since there seemed to be a decent number of folks out fishing.
The stretch down to the second buoy was fun because we were going roughly in the same direction as the swell. Every once and a while you’d get a big push forward if a swell hit you just the right way. I had a hard time finding the buoy though because you couldn’t sight it through all the activity in the water. I ended up stopping briefly and waiting for a swell to pick me up high enough to see it and then corrected my course. I was aiming a little too far to the left. With the buoy as a reference point it was interesting to see just how much the water was moving… you could be within 3 meters and have it disappear completely behind a wall of water.
After floating around for a while and just observing the incoming oceanic motion we finished up our swim with a quick shot to the other buoy and a turn to the beach. I didn’t have my GPS today but I’d say it was around 1.25 miles of swimming. Back on the beach we hung out for a little bit and I think I may have recruited some extra swimmers for Thursday nights at Lake Lopez… maybe even a kayaker! Sweet!