Sunday, August 2, 2009

Swimming with the fishes

Swam at Barton Springs (about a ten minute drive from my house) this morning with Channel swimmers Lynne Smith and David Blanke.  Here's an interesting fact:  fewer than 1000 people have successfully swum across the English Channel, compared to over 1500 who have climbed Mt. Everest.  We began at 5:30 while it was still dark and swam 12 round trips of 400 meters each for a total of 4800 meters, finishing shortly after 7:00.  Since I have trouble swimming in a straight line in open water, especially in the dark, I probably swam at least 10% more than that.  After each round trip, Lynne likes to announce the total ("That's one!"), sort of like the Phelps Visa commercial where he is swimming "laps" across the Atlantic.  I actually did lose count at one point, somewhere around number 7 or 8.  I had this song stuck in my head from the new Dave Matthews CD, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King:

I grew from monkey into man 
Then I crushed 15 million with a wave of my hand
I grew drunk on water turned into wine 
'Til I was slave and master at the same damn time

It's why I am 
It's why I am 
Why I am still here dancing with the Groogrux King 


  1. How long does it take to get comfortable in the water at 68 degrees? Do you wear a wet suit (assume not). What do you use to sight in the dark?

  2. We actually enter the water slowly, then stand around in waist deep water for a minute or two. I usually feel OK once I begin swimming. Don't really begin shivering until after I get out. I don't wear a wet suit but I do wear a cap which may help a bit. I use the sides of the "pool" to sight until I get closer to the end. I also keep track of my training partners, looking for their splash and/or their caps. There is some ambient light from the city (you can see downtown Austin from Barton Springs).