Christina Lorenson - Around Conanicut Island
Counterclockwise circumnavigation of Conanicut Island
31.2 km (19.4 miles)
10 hours, 38 minutes on 14 July 2022
Observed and documented by Jeremiah Dyehouse
- Name: Christina Lorenson
- Gender: female
- Age on swim date: 49
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: Coventry, Rhode Island
- Skip Watson - Feeder, safety watch
- Pasqualina Luzzi - Feeder, safety watch
- Rich Hittinger - boat pilot
Jeremiah Dyehouse - Masters and open water swimmer. Jeremiah has been coached by the swimmer.
|31 foot Willis Beal
|Snug Harbor, RI
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Nike Essential Racerback 2-piece), cap, goggles.
- Body of Water: Narragansett Bay
- Route Type: circumnavigation
- Start & Finish Location: Potter Cove, Jamestown (41.510011, -71.362610)
- Minimum Route Distance: 31.2 km (19.4 miles) (map)
No known previous swims of this route.
- Start: 14 July 2022, 06:06:04 (Eastern Daylight Time, America/New_York, UTC-4).
- Finish: 14 July 2022, 16:44:49
- Elapsed: 10 hours, 38 minutes, 45 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)
|Air Temp (F)
|5 / SW
|10 / SW
Trackpoint frequency: 10 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
Nutrition: Feeding occurred every 30 minutes. Drink consisted of INFINIT Nutrition USMS Open Water Mix. Gu packs were consumed once an hour. Other foods included banana, watermelon, and avocado.
by Christina Lorenson
I have always been attracted to swimming. One of my favorite stories of my young childhood is how when I was two years old I walked into the swimming pool at the apartment complex where we lived. My mother says looked like I knew what I was doing and actually did a pretty good job of keeping my head above water. I still needed to be rescued, but I feel like that was beginning of my life long love of the sport.
When I was 8 years old I joined our local YMCA swim team and once in 9th grade swam all 4 years for my high school team. By the end of my high school year I was burnt out from competition and focused on my career goal of becoming a veterinarian. Quite frankly, I was not fast enough to compete at the collegiate level.
School, career and family kept me away from fitness and swimming. In my mid 30s I decided I wanted to get fit again and started running, strength training, and occasionally swimming.
In Rhode Island there is a well known 2 mile open water event to raise money for a local environmental group called Save the Bay. The swim starts at the Naval Base in Newport and crosses the Eastern Passage of Narragansett Bay along the Newport Bridge and ends at Connicut Island also known as Jamestown. In 2010 I set my sights on this goal and my love of open water was born.
Shortly after that I connected with a group of people from my local YMCA that met most mornings off of Jamestown to swim. Over the years my passion and goals have grown. In 2016 I did my first 5K swim, the next year a 5 mile swim. In 2019 I had my sights on a 10K, my first official marathon swim, but some shoulder trouble got in the way. I then attempted a local organized 10K around Beavertail Point in Jamestown in 2020 day . The conditions that day were challenging and my kayak escort capsized and I was forced to wash up on the rocks. It was not going to be my year.
After that experience I started brewing a plan. What if I swam the north half of the island, for a total of 11 miles? During this time one of our fellow swimmers was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Another swimmer lost both her father and sister to the same disease. I shared my idea with my fellow swimmers and the Swim of Hope was born. On September 14th 2021, with fellow swimmer Chery Hatch, we completed the swim in dedication to our friend Keith Ryan and raised over 7K for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Deep down I knew this was a build up to me swimming the whole island. I wanted to tackle the island for a couple of reasons. First I love swimming in my Bay. Second it was a way for me to do a swim the length of the English Channel on a budget and without having to leave my veterinary practice for an extended period of time.
I shared my goals with my boat captain for the 11 mile swim and in March we met to plan the date based on the tide charts. The 11 mile swim took me about 6 ½ hours so we were looking at 13-14 hours for full island. Therefore my captain recommended an early summer swim so we had enough day light hours. July 14th was picked in a counterclockwise direction based on the tide/current charts. This was a little daunting to me at first because it meant I would have less time outside to train, requiring me to spend a lot more time in the pool. I actually swim in our Bay all year round without a wet suit but the distances are very short in the winter months. March through May I did the bulk of my yardage in the pool completing several 5 hours/10 mile swim sessions. My late May I shifted to swimming only outdoors. I new the water can warm up by July, but I was concerned about developing hypothermia by being in the water so long. In the month of June I swam over 80 miles and clocked two 8 hour swim sessions. I then started to taper.
My captain and crew met a few days before the scheduled swim to discuss logistics. It looked like the weather conditions were going to be favorable for our planned July 14th date. When I arrived at the swim start there was a northwest wind creating some chop but otherwise it looked like a great morning. My boat was late arriving due to marine traffic so I entered the water a little after 6 AM. The first 2/3rds of the swim went very well. I reached Beavertail, the southern tip of the island where I washed up 2 years earlier. I got around the point! We had to swim farther from shore then I usually do during my training swims and I remember feeling a little exposed and vulnerable being in deeper open water. Once we were around the point my boat captain informed me that we were 2 hours ahead of schedule. This meant that the tides hadn’t shifted yet I was going to have to fight a current for the next 2 hours. There was about 1 hour in there that I felt like I was barely moving. But I got through it and was on my way. Things progressed nicely until the last 2 miles of the swim when there was a brief downpour of rain. Visibility was terrible and there was risk of me being pulled if it progressed into a more thunderstorm. Fortunately it was very brief and I had blue sky as I swam back to the Cove. I was overjoyed to have my friend Keith, to whom we were dedicating the swim, to greet me at finish.
In retrospect I am very happy with how the swim went and feel that my training and planning paid off. Three weeks before the swim I decided to switch to a 2 piece suit because in July we get crap larvae in our waters. They get scooped down your suit and itch and bite you. I only had chaffing in one place I didn’t think to lubricate, at the bottom bra line of the suit. I was not overly hungry that night so I must have consumed adequate calories. The foods I ate agreed with me. I never felt nauseous but I did start to lose my appetite the last 1/3 of the swim and had to force myself to eat. I will consider if there is a way to improve that in the future.
Click to enlarge.