Neoprene Dreams

Thank you to all who supported me for the Frogman swim. I ended up raising about $250 for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation. Better than expected!!

The swim itself didn’t go as expected, but then, what ever does?

I tried on a loaner wetsuit from my friend Dani the night before the swim and was surprised by how easily it went on and how comfortable and stretchy the material was. The wetsuit I have at home is a few years old (I wore it somewhat successfully in IM Wisconsin 07), but is made of what feels like cast iron and is very thick. Although I’d previously decided to go naked, I was very easily persuaded to give the newer wetsuit a try the next morning.

The water was 62 at the starting point, which felt like a warm bath compared to those horrible cold baths I’d been having for a few weeks. I believe the water was low 50′s in the middle of the course and warmed up a little towards the finish. Cold. Definitely doable without neoprene, but chilly.

It wasn’t to be, though. I just couldn’t breathe. Every time I turned onto my stomach to swim I felt like I was being garroted. Hyperventilating, I’d turn on my back and scull for a while then try again. Same thing. Over and over. Deep breathing, relaxing, laughing. Nothing worked! I ended up feeling a little lightheaded.

I’m not superstitious, but the whole thing might have been because I wasn’t wearing my CIBBOWS cap. We were given rather nice colour coded silicon caps to wear according to our wave. Some would say the RobAquatics suit I was wearing had a curse (blessing??) and can’t abide being touched by neoprene. Of course it may just be that, as one should train in the cold to swim in the cold, one should also train in a wetsuit to swim in a wetsuit 

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Anyway……eventually all the other swimmers were out of sight so I took off the wetsuit, handed it to my nice but bewildered young kayakers and had a nice swim back to the start. I think I swam a total of 500 yds in 50 minutes. I was relieved to find Ron Collins and his wife Rebecca at the start and hitched a ride with them to the finish point. I believe Ron took a wrong turn and was separated from his kayaker. This made me feel like slightly less of a loser. Hehe, actually it was worth mucking up the swim just to meet them.

Aside from meeting the Collinses, something else of value was gained from this swim.

While swimming back to the start, I designed a new line of wetsuits which I believe will eliminate the choking, claustrophobic attack I experienced. I’m currently in negotiations with Butterick Patterns to sell them my designs. I think my designs speak for themselves.

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The Cowl Neck, Bootleg
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The Plunging V-Neck
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The Pleasant Peasant
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The Dirndl

And my personal favourite…

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The Bibless Brace

To conclude: the Frogman swim was really a lot of fun. It was probably the best supported swim I’ve ever done. Great cause. Great organisation. I would love to do it again next year. It’s really not mandatory to wear a wetsuit, as long as you let the organisers know beforehand (I had). A very fun day!

Here’s the website.