Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday, July 8. 2012

We had beautiful swimming conditions at Avila Beach today with 11 people in the water.  The sky was gray and overcast but there was no fog and only a slight breeze.  The water was nice and clean with a temperature of 57 degrees.  Robert and Susan were over from the valley to swim along with Sylvia, Yvonne, Byron, Rick Marina, Casey and Niel.  Joining us today for the first time were Nichole and Geoffrey.  Gerry Gross came too late to catch the start of the group but did his own swim.  We decided to start out easy along the buoy line to let the swimmers who were new to us get comfortable.  We swam out to the first buoy on the left side of the pier, turned left and swam to the end.  Everybody was doing OK so we so swam the 1/2 mile along the full length of the buoys to the creek.  As we arrived at the creek buoy we met up with Sylvia and Yvonne who had started earlier than the rest of us.  Sylvia, Yvonne, Nichole and Geoffrey returned along the buoy line to the pier and came in, having covered about a mile.  The remaining 6 of us swam from the creek to the end of the pier, to the last buoy on the east side and back along the buoys towards the pier and in.  The sun had come out as we were leaving the creek buoy which felt really nice but with the sun came a freshening breeze and a nice little chop.  It was enough to make the conditions on each leg different.   We covered a total 2,567 yards (1.5 miles) according to Byron's Garmin GPS, spending 49 minutes in the water. 



Anonymous said...

Hello Niel!

Love your Blog and photos of Swim Avila! How can a new person acclimate him/herself into Ocean water swimming? My goal is to swim off San Francisco "Alcatraz Swim" without freezing to death. My threshold for cold is not so great, any advice from you would be helpful.

Jason E.

Niel said...

We are always happy to have swimmers join us who are interested in trying open water swimming. I have some questions and recommendations about gear that will help you have an enjoyable experience.
How much swimming do you do? The cold water, current, waves and the possibility of wind and chop make swimming in open water more strenuous than an equivalent distance in a pool. Plus there is no stopping, lane lines, bottom or turns, until you get out. It is important for a swimmer to be very comfortable in the ocean and to have a good sense of their own limits. I recommend that a first time ocean swimmer find a place to get in the water that allows him to swim close to the shore, back and forth along a short course is fine. That way it is an easy swim to the beach if you decided that you are no longer having fun. It is always advisable to swim with one or more buddies. There are open water groups in the bay area (The Dolphin Club) and Monterrey that you can contact and arrange to join one of their regular swims. For the Alcatraz crossing you will need to be able to navigate and be prepared for rough water. You can only gain this experience beforehand in the ocean. This time of the year the water temperature will be about 55 to 57 degrees. You will need a full 2 to 3 mm wet suit. You need to have swum in the wet suit before your event in order to get used to how it feels. Even with a wet suit it feels cold getting in so you need to have done enough open water swims to have confidence that yo will be comfortable. When we have someone new to ocean swimming join us at Avila it takes then 3 or 4 swims before they get comfortable with the cold,even if they are a strong swimmer. Being 'out in the ocean', navigating and the mouth fulls of salt water can easily be more they you are comfortable dealing with even if you are a strong swimmer. You need goggles, regular pool goggles are OK and I'd recommend wearing two caps. A lot of us wear neoprene caps to extend our time in the water.
You are welcome to join us at Avila Beach on a Wednesday evening at 5:30 or a Sunday morning at 11.