Monday, June 29, 2009

A fun small step

I don't normally write about my shorter training days, but my workout tonight was sort of fun. I swam 8000 yards in 1:57 (one hour, fifty-seven minutes). That's the fastest I have ever swum 8000 yards in my life. It's good for morale to be swimming relatively fast right now, because in the middle of all the distance, speed usually suffers some. So, wahoo. Ten weeks and five days to the beginning of my swim window. but who's counting?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Luis Samacumbi for SwimMikeSwim

One of the people who is working on the school project in Angola is here visiting in the U.S. this month. His name is Luis Samacumbi, and he is the director of social programs for the Congregational Church in Angola. Here is a short video of Luis talking about the project. The visual quality is not great. But the sound is good. Luis is a wonderful guy and a great leader for the church in Angola. Enjoy. video

Monday, June 22, 2009

San Francisco Six Hour

I'm back home after my week in San Francisco. It was a great week of training in open ocean water, right about 60 degrees all week. I successfully completed my six hour official qualifying swim without any problems, covering about 12 1/2 miles. The 60 degree water seemed fine. I remember jumping in my pool three months ago at 64 degrees, literally just in and out, and thought it was torture. Now, six hours at 60 degrees was no problem - it's amazing what acclimation can do for you.

That six hour swim was in "the Cove" (above) at the north end of the San Francisco peninsula, just west of Fisherman's Wharf. The Cove is only partially enclosed, and you are still exposed to tide currents and choppy water, which means that it was excellent training for the Channel. While there, I also did a two hour swim in San Francisco Bay proper, with a kayak escort, big swells and serious chop. I nearly swam under the Golden Gate Bridge (below), so that was pretty cool.

I was a little on edge in the water at first. You really can't see more than three feet in front of you, and every once in a while a jellyfish suddenly appears in front you - yikes. They are pretty creepy - brown and about 10-12 inches around with 2-3 foot tentacles. I didn't actually touch one or get stung, but had to rear up and dodge several of them. Then it was hard to relax for a long time, so they are a pain. The thing that made me most uncomfortable in the water was seeing shadowy things below me without knowing what they were. It took me about three hours in the water to realize that the shadowy thing below me was...my shadow. I was being creeped out by my own shadow: classic. After I figured that out, I felt a lot more comfortable, until I dodged the next jellyfish. Anyway...there are jellyfish in the English Channel too, so it was good experience! Here's an article about the jellies in the San Francisco Bay.

I was a guest all week with the Dolphin Swim Club and South End Rowing Club, two clubs right on the Cove. Basically they are open water swimming clubs and these people swim all year round - no wetsuits. The water gets down to 48-49 in February, so they are amazing. Sixty degrees for them in balmy. Thanks to Suzie Dods and Mike Tschantz-Hahn for their great hospitality!

Okay, now some more pictures. Peace, Mike

Me, taking in some calories during the swim (above).

The Dolphin Club (above)

Swimming in the Cove (above)

See, it really was San Francisco! (above)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Big Week Ahead

Very early on Monday morning I am leaving for a week in San Francisco. The main purpose of the trip is to get experience in real, cold ocean (i.e. salt) water. Each day I will do at least one swim, and hopefully two swims on a few of the days. I will also do my official six hour qualifying swim in "the Cove" (i.e. San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park - a reserved breakwater area that is wonderful for swimming). The Q swim, as the qualifying swim is known, has to be in water of 60 degrees or less (the water temp there is 58 today), and under Channel rules: no wetsuit or other insulation, no assistance other than food given to you, etc. The six hours shouldn't be too much of a stretch now, but if the conditions are rough that could make it interesting. I am also going to hire a kayaker one day to go outside the Cove into San Francisco Bay proper, to experience "real waves." That should be interesting. Anyway, the week will be fabulous training and I am looking forward to seeing how I do in salt water.

Final Swimming for Schools Update

The swimmers from the Washington swim team, and all the other kids from the school, together raised $1548 to help build a school in Angola! Terrific job swimmers, and everybody else too. Special thanks to Kathi Ferrero and Jill Faber for making it possible.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

58 and cloudy

It was cloudy and the water temp was 58 in Lake Michigan yesterday, but I had a nice three hour swim. I hadn't been in cold water for a couple of weeks (at 67 my pool doesn't qualify any more), so I was a little cold for the first hour or so, but the last couple of hours were good. And the Gino's East pizza afterward was fabulous!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Year's First Channel Attempt

Some of you might find this interesting. Today was the first day this summer for someone to make an English Channel swim. It was a six person relay. The Channel was 56 degrees and a little bumpy today. Below are two photos to show you what I mean. Open full size to get the full effect. The team ended up abandoning after about 15 hours, five miles from France (the hardest part of the swim due to the currents).


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Swimming for Schools update

More is still coming in from the Swim-a-Thon. Up to just under $1500!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Swim-a-Thon Wrap Up

It looks like the total of our Swimming for Schools Swim-a-Thon will be just over $1100. Way cool. Congratulations! and Thanks! to the swimmers and students of Washington Gifted Academy. The children of Waku Kungo will be blessed by your/their concern and generosity.

I am so glad we had a chance to involve the kids of Washington, and especially the swimmers, in this project. It is good for habits of community service to start early and thus be taken for granted - "Of course I'm involved in community service - duh!" - that's just the right attitude.

I have to say special thanks to Kathi Ferrero and Jill Faber for helping to make it possible!