It’s no hyperbole, just a simple statement of fact, that Jamie Patrick‘s Swim Camp last year changed the course of my life. I returned this year for the “Lake Tahoe Edition” for several reasons, most important of which was to honor the 2012 edition, and the man who organized it, for introducing me to a beautiful new friend.
My very first pair of FINIS Agility paddles
This year’s swim camp was a hoot, albeit a different sort of hoot. Which was, naturally, a function of both different people and a different environment. Like last year, “swim camp” was a bit of a misnomer. “Camp for people who swim” would be more accurate.
Among this year’s highlights was a swim in Emerald Bay and around its island (the only one in Tahoe, known as Fannette). It couldn’t have been more perfect, save perhaps an earlier jump time to avoid boat traffic. Good lord, what beautiful water, as if from a dream.…
When we swim in the ocean we share the water with an abundance of other life, some of it larger and toothier than we are. Just because we don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. And just because they’re there doesn’t mean they care about us, or want anything to do with us.
Members of the South End Rowing Club and Dolphin Club, who share a beach on Aquatic Park, San Francisco, were recently reminded of these truths when a three-foot juvenile salmon shark swam into the cove and spent a few minutes cruising around near our docks. Salmon sharks sport a distinctive white underbelly and are sometimes mistaken for juvenile Great Whites. Though adults can grow to 10 feet long, they’re generally not considered a threat to humans.
Some footage taken by South Ender Gary Emich:
The shark is behaving oddly and appears disoriented. According to the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in Santa Cruz, this shark may be suffering from a carnobacterium infection and resulting blindness. The PSRF has received several other reports recently of sharks beaching themselves elsewhere in Northern California.…
There’s an interesting story in this list, though I’m reluctant to impose a narrative on it just yet.
Major swims are indicated in bold – or at least, what I considered to be major swims at the time.
Going forward this list will be accessible on this page, accessible via the top menu (About –> My Swims), and updated as necessary.
- USMS One-Hour Postal Swim
- Nike Swim Miami 10K
- USMS 1-mile Open-Water National Championship (Huntersville, NC)
- USMS 1.5-mile Open-Water National Championship (Livermore, CA)
- USMS 6K Open-Water National Championship (Windsor, CO)
- USMS 2-mile Cable National Championship (Charlottesville, VA)
- USMS 10K Open-Water National Championship (Noblesville, IN)
- Cascade Lakes Swim Festival (Elk Lake, OR)
- Madison Open-Water Swim (Madison, WI)
- USMS 5K Postal Swim
- USMS 10K Postal Swim
- Big Shoulders 5K (Chicago, IL)
- Diamond Lake Open Water Swim (Cassopolis, MI)
- Little Red Lighthouse Swim (New York, NY)
- Swim the Suck (Chattanooga, TN)
- 2010 Season in Review
- Nike Swim Miami 10K
- Tampa Bay Marathon Swim – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- Manhattan Island Marathon Swim – Part 1, Jump Shots, Photo Album, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Story of the Splits, Part 6, Three Rivers Three Races
- Crewing for Cliff [support]
- Great Hudson River Swim (New York, NY)
- Catalina Channel – The Crew, Part 1, Part 2 (Tracks & Splits), Part 3 (In deep water), Part 4, Banquet
- Ederle Swim (New York, NY)
- 2011 Season in Review
- 1500m Freestyle (San Luis Obispo Masters meet)
- Nite Moves (Santa Barbara, CA)
- Jamie Patrick’s Swim Camp (Hidden Valley Lake, CA)
- Point Bonita to Aquatic Park (San Francisco, CA) – Joining SERC, Part 1, Part 2
- Reef and Run (Santa Barbara, CA)
- Abby Nunn guest post – Manhattan Island Marathon Swim
- Semana Nautica 1-mile, 3-mile, & 6-mile Ocean Swims (Santa Barbara, CA)
- Maui Channel solo
- Maui Channel relay
- CCSF and SBCSA swim observations [support]
- Santa Barbara Channel (Santa Cruz Island to mainland) – Part 1 (Prologue), Part 2 (Drop Dead Conditions), Part 3 (Demons of Doubt), Part 4 (The Data), Part 5 (The Test)
- Avila Beach New Year’s Day Polar Plunge
- Same Water, Different Worlds: A tale of two swims in San Francisco Bay [support]
- The Alcatraz Swimming Society [SERC]
- Five Coves of Death [SERC]
- Paul Newsome wins MIMS [support] – Part 1, Part 2
- Alcatraz to SF, sculling
- Candlestick to Aquatic Park [SERC, support]
The Candlestick “Nutcracker” is the longest SERC club swim – 10.5 miles – though some consider it not as challenging as outside-the-Gate swims such as Bay-to-Breakers and Point Bonita.
If anything, the most pressing challenge for Candlestick swims is support logistics – transporting all the kayaks down to Candlestick, setting the swimmers off on time, and modeling the ebb tide accurately in a relatively unfamiliar part of the Bay.
Instead of swimming, I opted to pay back a portion of my volunteer debt and sign up for kayak support. It was my first SERC support paddle, and only my second overall, after the Semana Nautica 6-mile a couple weeks ago.
Despite the main kayak transport vehicle failing to show, we managed to arrive at Candlestick a few minutes before 6am – just 15-20 minutes behind schedule. We hurriedly launched the kayaks, and soon the first pod of (slower) swimmers entered the water at 6:06am. Then pod 2 at 6:14, and pod 3 at 6:24.
Cathy jumped in pod 2, though in reality she’s more of a pod 2/3 ‘tweener.…
Yesterday the South End Rowing Club of San Francisco and the Bondi Icebergs of Sydney officially became “sister clubs” as a delegation of visiting ‘Bergs joined us for a Tuesday morning Alcatraz swim.
In need of, I suppose, new challenges, I decided to attempt the swim using only sculling drill – both forward (hands in front) and back (hands by hips). I filmed the event with a GoPro on a head attachment.
I ended up resorting to a few strokes of backstroke (so as not to stretch out the support vessels), but for the most part I did it: Alcatraz to Aquatic Park… sculling.
Here’s 52-minute video condensed to just over two. Unfortunately the GoPro memory card reached capacity shortly after I entered the cove, so I didn’t capture the finish.
– Previously: MIMS 2013, Part 1: A perfect storm
Last month I crewed for Swim Smooth founder Paul Newsome on his victorious Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Though we had not met in person, Paul read my 2011 MIMS report and felt I could assist him in navigating the twists, turns, and tricky currents of the rivers around Manhattan.
It was a great honor and pleasure to meet and spend the weekend with Paul, his business partner Adam, his paddler Amanda, and all the rest of the Perth squad. They treated me very well, and I left New York City with a swirling headful of inspiring memories and new friendships.
I’ll defer to Paul’s story of his own swim. Instead, these are more general reflections on the experience of seeing MIMS from on the water – quite different, naturally, than being in the water.
“Expect the unexpected.”
A well-worn chestnut of open water swimming, of which MIMS 2013 often reminded us. The day before the race, the Daily News of Open Water Swimming reported on the apparent female domination of MIMS, proclaiming one the “overwhelming favorite.” Instead, men swept the podium, 1-2-3.…