The WordPress admin dashboard informs me this is – hell’s bells! – post #200 here at Freshwater Swimmer. Sometime in the next month, three additional milestones will be reached:
- My 2-year blogoversary! (Remember this post?)
- 50,000 page views (not including RSS). Just a couple months behind Donal.
- Best of all: 1,000 comments! That’s an average of 5 comments for every post (recently it’s been more like 10 per post — granted, some of those are my own!). I could be wrong, but I think this statistic might be unmatched in the universe of open-water swimming blogs. So, to my commenters, especially the frequent ones – Katie, Mike, Amanda, Adam, David, Donal, Rob, and Sully - thank you! And keep ‘em coming. I appreciate the engagement, and am gratified that you find my stuff worth reading.
Regular visitors may have noticed a few changes afoot – some new fonts, an updated theme, and alas – a new header image. Much as I loved that spectacular view of the Chicago lakefront, it no longer reflects my reality. The new header is less eye-catching, but I prefer it for a couple reasons: First, it actually shows someone swimming. Second, that swimmer happens to be me. The photo was taken as I warmed up before the USMS 10K National Championship in Noblesville, Indiana.
For my RSS and email subscribers, there are other reasons to click over every once in a while. In the top menu, you’ll find a variety of static content to complement the dynamic content of the blog.
One recent addition is the “Explore This Site” page. It’s my attempt to go beyond conventional “categories” and “tags” in organizing my content. To help readers find the most interesting stuff at-a-glance, without having to dig, I’ve highlighted:
- the most-commented posts (updated automatically)
- race reports from the five 10+ mile marathon swims I’ve done
- “featured” posts – a subjectively-chosen collection of posts that (a) I think best represent my writing, and (b) are not included in the above two categories
Next is the “Race Calendars” menu. If you’re looking for an interesting open-water swim to do, this is a good place to find one. In addition to my exclusive U.S. Marathon Swim Calendar and Midwest Open-Water Calendar, you’ll find links to 7 excellent bucket lists from Steven Munatones.
In the “Pages” menu are several unique resources you won’t find anywhere else on the interwebs:
- a dashboard of current water temperatures in popular open-water swimming locations around the world
- an extensive collection of swim narratives (blog posts, etc.) about some of the most famous marathon swims in the world
- a pace table converting pool times (short-course yards and long-course meters) to approximate open-water pace
- and – a recent addition – a bibliography of marathon swimming-relevant books (English language only, sorry about that)
Finally, a brief word on this site’s title, “Freshwater Swimmer.”
A few people have asked me (and others have probably wondered) how I can be a “freshwater swimmer” when I now live in California, and almost all my recent swims have been in saltwater. That’s a reasonable question.
I settled on Freshwater Swimmer for a few reasons:
- At the time (obviously), I lived in the Great Lakes region of the United States.
- Given that most American marathon swimmers live on the coasts, it seemed like one way to distinctively “brand” myself.
- Less obviously, it was also a winking nod to the famous “freshwater vs. saltwater” debate in macroeconomics. I lived in Hyde Park near the University of Chicago – the best-known “freshwater school” – so it seemed especially appropriate.
Now, of course, the title makes considerably less sense. But I decided to keep it anyway. Regardless of where I live – now and in the future – the Midwest is where I discovered the joys of open-water swimming. I became an open-water swimmer in freshwater. I became a marathon swimmer in freshwater. I learned to swim in cold water… in freshwater. I learned to swim in rough water… in freshwater.
So Freshwater Swimmer it is – and will remain!