Lynn Griesemer - Around St. Pete Beach
Loop around St Pete Beach Island (CCW)
20 km (12.4 miles)
7 hours, 31 minutes on 4 May 2022
Observed and documented by Kareem Kirby, Mia Erickson Stevens
- Name: Lynn Griesemer
- Gender: female
- Age on swim date: 59
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: Tampa, Florida
Swim piloted by three kayaks. No motorized vessel.
Kareem Kirby: Lifeguard, CPR Pro, First Aid, AED Emergency Oxygen certified through Red Cross. YMCA swim instructor certified. USMS Level 2 swim coach, USAS Level 2 coach. Head Coach of the Tampa YMCA Stingrays – TYS. Kareem has swum in several marathon swims of different distances over 10K. He actively volunteers as water support for the local OWS events and Triathlons in the Tampa Bay Area.
Mia Erickson Stevens: USMS Level 3 Coach (US Masters Swim), USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Ironman Coach, Red Cross Water Safety Instructor (WSI), Adult Learn to Swim Instructor. Mia has coached swimming and taught swimming for 38 years. She runs the Endurance Swim Challenge (Worldwide challenge). She’s served on the USMS National and Southern Masters Swimming Committees for Long Distance and Open Water Swimming and Swimming Saves Lives – Adult Learn to Swim Committee.
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Sporti thin strap), swim cap, Speedo goggles, basic watch to reveal time only.
Counterclockwise loop around St Pete Beach Island, beginning and ending at 100th Ave Public Boat Ramp on Treasure Island, FL
- Body of Water: Blind Pass, Gulf of Mexico, Pass-A-Grille Channel, and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
- Route Type: island loop
- Start & Finish Location: 100th Ave Public Boat Ramp (27.759225, -82.765194)
- Minimum Route Distance: 20 km (12.4 miles) (map)
No known previous swims of this route.
- Start: 4 May 2022, 06:17:00 (Eastern Daylight Time, America/New_York, UTC-4).
- Finish: 4 May 2022, 13:48:44
- Elapsed: 7 hours, 31 minutes, 44 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||80||81.7|
|Air Temp (F)||74.3||81|
Trackpoint frequency: 5 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
by Lynn Griesemer
As a resident of Tampa, FL, one of my goals is to swim around as many “islands” in the Tampa Bay area as possible. St. Pete Beach (approx. 12.7 miles) is one of those islands. My first marathon swim was on 6/14/20 (Davis Island in downtown Tampa) and before this swim, I successfully completed 12 islands, some of which are less than 6.2 miles.
Timing the tides and flow of the current through the passes, or bodies of water at the north and south ends of the island can be tricky. The swimmer’s speed must be taken into consideration. On 4/22/22, my husband Bob and I canceled 2 major back-to-back swims in another location due to high wind forecast. Bob is my kayaker and since he had a few vacation days, I wanted a replacement swim(s). Ideally, I wanted a total of 18-20 miles over a 2-3 day time frame. I considered St. Pete Beach (12+ miles) and Honeymoon Island (8+ miles).
On April 30, forecast conditions looked ideal for a swim around St. Pete Beach, located in Pinellas County / Tampa Bay, FL. We selected Wednesday, May 4, 2022 with a start time of 6:15am from the 100^th^ Ave. public boat ramp on Treasure Island, a nearby 8-mile island that I swam around on 6/3/21. I asked notable marathon swimmers and a coach in our area if anyone has swum around St. Pete Beach and they couldn’t provide any names, so on May 1, I decided that if I was going to be the first person to swim around St. Pete Beach, I would make this swim “official” in accordance with MSF guidelines.
I assembled my team within 2 days and called my team “Ava Rose,” to honor my granddaughter who was born on 5/2/22. Bob was the navigator, kayaker, and feeds provider. Mia Erickson Stevens and Kareem Kirby served as kayakers and observers. Mia escorted me the first 6 miles and Kareem, the remainder 6.7 miles. Joel McCabe delivered and loaned us a kayak for the day. Ken Morgan served as advisor and assistant: He greeted us at the start and took videos and photos, swam beside me for a few hundred yards between mile 2 and 3, was available to drop off Kareem at Pass-a-Grille Beach, and offered suggestions before the swim. Venessa Herring shares my goal of swimming around as many islands as possible in the Tampa Bay area and like Ken, is knowledgeable about charting swims, and is a mentor.
I had been swimming 18-20 miles per week for three weeks leading up to this swim. I joined a Masters group eight months ago in order to improve speed and technique, and I swim three times per week in the open water, in various conditions. My plan was to swim 12.7 miles around St. Pete on 5/4/22 and then 8.2 miles around Honeymoon Island, which is north of Clearwater Beach, on 5/6/22. Bob acquired three new devices for this swim: a Garmin GPS, a thermometer, and anemometer.
The swim went amazingly well and as planned. We started at 6:17 am and finished at 1:48 pm. A few days prior, Bob told me what to expect and it all came true: a nice push at the beginning through Blind Pass; another current assist through Pass-A-Grille Channel; and a possible current against me a mile or two to the finish. I told my observer Kareem after the tenth mile break that this was an easy swim. At that point, I was averaging a 32-minute mile, which is excellent for me since my average open water mile is 35 minutes. The last two miles took a little longer, due to a slight current against me, coupled with nasal numbness from being in warm, salt water for more than six hours. I mistakenly thought the end point was a little sooner and neglected to take a feed with an hour to go. Up until that point, I was taking either a honey gel or a homemade gel (a mixture of dates, coconut oil, agave, chia seeds, and water) and 8 oz. of electrolyte drink every 30-35 minutes. I probably slowed down due to lack of nourishment. Mentally, I wanted to be done within the last mile. I was later told that a pod of four dolphins was following me for twenty minutes. I am often envious of the views the kayakers get to see, while I have my head in the water as the swim grunt. For about forty-five minutes during the last hour, we had cloudy skies, with heavy rainfall. It was welcome, after spending most of the day swimming in the bright sun.
There were so many memorable portions of the swim – too many to mention here. I posted a video on my YouTube Channel “Lynn Griesemer.” “1^st^ PERSON TO SWIM AROUND ST. PETE BEACH.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhAI3XvAxO4&t=20s The spirit of helping others in the open water swim community in Tampa Bay is alive and well, especially on my team: Bob, Mia, Kareem, Ken, Joel, and Venessa. Their cooperation and support was what brought me to tears as I approached the finish line.
4 improvements for next time: 1. I need to keep drinks colder. 2. I used Destin as a sunscreen on my face and shoulders. For long swims (4+ hours in the sun), I need to apply Desitin on my back. 2. The word “almost” to me means 500 yards or less, possibly with a visual of the exit. To my husband, the last mile of a 13-mile swim meant “almost.” We’re both right and the beauty of a husband and wife kayaker-swimmer team is that we get to continue to work on our communication skills, even after 36 years of marriage. 3. I will familiarize myself with details of the route. I was fine without using a Garmin watch, and I studied and felt familiar with the first 11 miles of the swim. Mentally, I didn’t have a clear, exact vision of the last mile and that’s where I slowed down.
This was my longest continuous swim distance so far. I’ve completed a handful of 10-12 mile distance swims and a 14.4 interrupted swim. I’m excited to be inching up to longer distances. I would highly recommend this swim. It’s scenic, beautiful, and unique. I feel honored and privileged to be the first person to swim around St. Pete Beach, FL. We have tremendous freedom to swim in the clean, open water. We should never take that for granted.
Click to enlarge.