Catalina

Catalina

I mentioned in my tentative 2011 race schedule that I was contemplating a date with the Catalina Channel in the late summer. That date is now set: August 25, 2011.

My support crew (tbd) and I will leave the Port of Long Beach aboard Capt. Greg Elliott’s Bottom Scratcher (what a fantastic name for a boat) around 8:30pm on the 24th. Upon reaching the northwest end of Catalina Island at Doctor’s Point, my swim will begin around midnight. I will swim at a NNE-erly bearing until I reach the San Pedro Peninsula on the California mainland, 20 miles away. If conditions and luck are favorable, I should stumble onto the beach near Rancho Palos Verdes, just SE of Pt. Vicente lighthouse, between 8 and 9am.

It will be my first channel crossing, my first solo swim, but also a homecoming of sorts. I was born and raised in Southern California, and my family goes back several generations in the area. I spent a week on Catalina for 6th grade “camp” – still one of my favorite memories.…

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New blog feature: Comparative water temperatures

New blog feature: Comparative water temperatures

For those who have ever wondered, in the dead of winter after so many laps in the concrete prison, “What’s it like in Hawaii today?” — a new blog feature! Behold: a dashboard of current water temperatures at a few select locations where marathon swimming has been known to occur.

One surprising (to me) fact gleaned from today’s data: the English Channel is a mere 55F right now… in late November!

You can access the dashboard through the following link or through the “Marathon Swimming” menu at top:

Freshwater Swimmer: Comparative Water Temperatures

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Lift before swim, or swim before lift?

Lift before swim, or swim before lift?

I do my dryland training at the University of Chicago’s Ratner Center. As it happens, the gym shares a roof with a very nice 50m x 25y pool. So, for efficiency’s sake I usually combine my weightlifting sessions with a swim.

A question thus arises: Lift first, or swim first?

I’ve heard different theories on this. Those who endorse lifting first say you’re more likely to injure yourself when you’re tired, and thus lifting after a tiring swim session can be dangerous. Some also say a post-lift swim session allows them to “stretch out” their muscles and reduce later soreness. The most interesting argument I’ve heard is that even a brief lifting session can produce muscle fatigue equivalent to (or greater than) a full swim session. So, if you want to practice “swimming tired” to simulate the feeling at the end of a race, a pre-swim lifting session can provide more bang for your buck. That’s probably true.

On the other hand, research seems to suggest that a proper warm-up is actually more important than warm-down, in preventing both muscle soreness and injuries.…

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The unique challenges of MIMS

The unique challenges of MIMS

Another interesting post on the Channel Swimmers chat group from Ned Denison (member of the MIMS selection committee), describing some of the unique challenges of MIMS compared to other famous marathon swims (e.g., English Channel):

… [snippet - see chat group for full post]

Somebody referred to MIMS as the “weak sister” of the three events. Be careful… We all know that every open water swim is different and that the same open water swim is different every year, month, day, hour and minute. A daylight EC swim in August with hot sun, warm calm water, no wind and perfect timing to land on the CAP is very different from – what most of us got or will get.

So – there are some things about MIMS that are usually a bit easier that the EC and Catalina. Here are two that resonate with me:

The MIMS team usually gets the timing right so the swimmers have current behind them going up the East and Harlem rivers.

The swimmer doesn’t need to prepare for a 15 hour swim – you will have finished or been pulled long before then.



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Summer marathon swims, in pictures

Summer marathon swims, in pictures

What’s a marathon swim? Distance is how it’s typically defined – any swim 10K or longer. Another indicator? If you need high-level satellite imagery to view the course map.

Saturday, April 9, 2011 – Nike Swim Miami – Miami, FL – 10K

Saturday, April 23 – Tampa Bay Marathon Swim – Tampa, FL – 24 miles

Saturday, June 18 – Manhattan Island Marathon Swim – New York, NY – 28.5 miles

Saturday, July 9 – Kingdom Swim – Newport, VT – 10 miles

Saturday, August 13 – Boston Light Swim – Boston, MA – 8 miles



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2011 Race Schedule (tentative)

2011 Race Schedule (tentative)

Here in Chicago, the trees are gradually defoliating, and the Parks Department finally removed the buoys from our beloved cove south of Promontory Point… which can only mean one thing: Time to start filling in the 2011 Open Water Calendar! In 2010 I attended 12 events (some with multiple races) over 6 months. Eight of these involved air travel. That’s a race (at least) every other week on average. It was super fun, but not so conducive to peak performance. My ‘A’ races – supposedly, the Noblesville 10K and the Big Shoulders 5K – turned into ‘B+’ races because of the near-constant disruption of training.

As for next year, let there be no doubt: MIMS is the ‘A’ race – the main course. Everything else is either aperitif or digestif.

The season will begin April 9 at the Nike Swim Miami. This is a fairly standard 4-loop 10K in a protected nook of the Biscayne Bay. After a long winter of pool training in Chicago, it will be a useful fitness test and good opportunity to de-ice my open-water chops.…

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MIMS selection process – official report

MIMS selection process – official report

This is interesting. Ned Denison, member of the MIMS selection committee, posted the following “inside scoop” on the selection of the field for the 2011 swim. From the Channel Swimmers chat group:

Last year I reported from “inside” the committee to help you all understand how the selection process worked for the 2010 solo swim. Time to update you – a year later.  The goal is simply to de-mystify the process for future solo applicants.

The application process for Manhattan is not simple !   It takes a few hours to complete a swimmer profile and upload evidence of swims and write an essay.  The earlier one starts the more time you have to ask questions and get help. So…the final date was announced in advance and the applicants scheduled time to get up early or stay up late or take an hour or so off work (depending on their location in the world!)

  1. The first 15 applications received were very qualified, had no information outstanding, met all the diversity requirements and were automatically selected.
  2. Another four were automatically accepted out of the next 14 completed applications to help fully meet the diversity criteria. 


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