Eel Lake Swims Were Canceled. Swimmers Came Anyway.
I had a misadventure on Wed 11 Aug, having chest pains while crushing the 50-meter sprints during practice, and resulting in a trip to and stay at the hospital. Without rehashing the details, I’m now home under house arrest, sporting four snappy new coronary artery stents and recovering, an exercise apparently designed to teach me patience. I am grateful for the outpouring of support from the swim community with texts, emails, and pictures. It has meant a great deal to me to have such good friends and swim pals in my corner as I confront my impending and inevitable mortality.
First, some quick lessons:
–Listen to your body. Thankfully, I left the water a few rounds early, so I got good marks there.
–Swim with an ER doc and listen to her advice. Thanks, Gillian, for calling out my stupid slowness to act!
— When you hear & see an ambulance zoom by and think that someone is having a bad day, always remember with compassion that it could be you.
But enough about me. Without the event director & referee and all the gear, Ralph Mohr and I had to cancel the Central Oregon Coast Swims at Eel Lake, which we did. In Oregon, swimming has taken a big hit from the pandemic, our open water season losing four events (and now a fifth one) this year alone. With COMA’s unwavering support, I had assertively planned three events this summer to fill that void, two of which we held with great success. So I was upset not to be able to make it to Eel Lake, but, in the absence of an event director & referee and all the gear, our decision to cancel was obvious.
Astonishingly, in the end, serendipity ruled! Despite the cancelation, swimmers turned it into a set of informal group adventure swims by showing up at the venue anyway, for swimming, camping, and socializing. According to Ralph and others, big groups of swimmers—35 on Saturday by one report!—did a wide variety of swim challenges on all three days [another lesson: turn lemons to lemonade]. And I really appreciated the ubiquitous Safety Tow Floats. By being there and helping each other stay safe, our swimmers’ actions honored and moved me as much as their kind and supportive words. They demonstrated and embodied irrefutably the kind of open water community that we have worked very hard to build for many years. Open water swimming and, more importantly, the spirit of open water swimming, is alive and well in Oregon!
With our open water season closing soon, where do we go from here? You’ve heard it before from me, but wait for it again…POSTAL SWIMS! I know that the pandemic has played havoc with 50-meter pool time, and I’m very concerned with the recent surge of COVID cases, but we still have a month (before September 16) to squeeze in that 5-km and/or 10-km swim. For details, see https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1246&smid=13719.
I think that we’ll have better luck with the 3000-yd & 6000-yd postal swims, held between September 15 and November 15, because they only require short course pools. Postal swims are a great opportunity to measure your open water fitness in a pool setting and, in the absence of pool meets for the time being, are a great way to satisfy your instinct to measure yourself and to whet your competitive appetite. Specific info is not yet posted, but soon will appear at https://www.usms.org/events/national-championships/epostal-national-championships/2021-epostal-national-championships. Get involved!
Good luck and good swimming!