Open Water Swim

Today I finally did another ocean swim. I’ve been wanting to do one for a while, but it’s been raining most weekends. There have been dry spells, but since it rains so infrequently around here, rain tends to wash a lot of oil and pesticides into the water. With barely any rain in the last 3 days, I figured today would be OK. Since a great white shark was sighted in the area last week, Danielle and I drove to Santa Barbara to go swimming there.

We decided to swim to a buoy and back to shore. Getting in the water, it was really cold. We both had long wetsuits and hoods (although my hood is more like a cap). Soon our hands and feet got kind of numb, which helped, but the water was too cold for me to put my head in the water for more than 6 strokes or so. And then I would have to keep it up for quite a while until the headache went away. This was especially frustrating because freestyle was so obviously faster than the breaststroke I was doing. Luckily there was very little surf, and almost no swell. It was windy though, which made for a reasonable current and some chop. Finally at the shore I had the strength to run out of the water, but was feeling pretty off-balance.

After a bit of a rest we did it again. The way there felt better. I was more focused, and a bit more used to the cold. On the way back the wind picked up and with it the chop. I ended up with water in my mouth more often than I’m really comfortable with, and felt like throwing up at one point. I really don’t like the taste of seawater. This time I actually timed myself. It took 4 minutes to get to the buoy, and about the same to get back. I think the distance from the shore to the buoy was probably 100 yards, so that would put my 440 yard time at about 18 minutes. Coming out of the water I ran to where our clothes were, pulling off my wetsuit along the way. That’s also really hard. My heart was racing as I came out of the water, and running through the sand wasn’t helping anything. I’m really going to need the time spent changing clothes in T1 to get my body back under control. Once we got home I looked up the water temp for the local surf spot, which is reported as 51-55F. I sure hope it’s warmer next week.

About the author

Living the good life in Seattle, occasionally sharing something interesting with the Internet.