Lessons learned...

GregJLGregJL Member
edited December 2013 in Swim Reports
Just joined the forum today - nice to be connected to other OW swimmers! I'm definitely in the category of early on my journey to becoming a marathon swimmer. Thought I'd start by sharing a swim report from this past Saturday.

Swim started at Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz. The goal was to the "mile buoy" and back. The buoy is actually 1.6 miles from the beach...who comes up with these names anyway!? :) My 12-year old son was providing kayak support. I figured I'd be in the water for 1:20, but knew (or thought I knew anyway) that I could climb into the kayak if things started going bad.

First mistake was not checking the water temperature. It turns out it was only 50 degrees on Saturday - I most likely would have opted for a shorter swim if I had known. I'm still acclimating to the cold water and can do about 40 to 50 minutes in 50 degrees without too much shivering afterwards.

Second mistake was thinking we could ride a one-person kayak with two people. On the way back from the buoy, (about 1 hour into the swim) I knew I was getting too cold to continue with any sort of speed and we also had a bit of a time crunch to get back to the car to feed the parking meter. So, I had my son move forward on the kayak (the thing is a 14 footer so I really didn't think there'd be a problem) and I climbed in to paddle. The balance was totally thrown off, we were in danger of tipping, and we weren't making any progress paddling.

So...back in the water I went. The water felt twice as cold getting back in after thinking I was done swimming for the day.

Third mistake was the biggest. I told my son to stick with me for a bit longer and then maybe I would send him on his way to go feed the meter. I wanted to make sure I felt okay once I got my rhythm back. Well, there was a bit of miscommunication because when I looked up, he was gone. I was still at least 20 minutes from shore and really starting to feel miserable. Had I thought about it more clearly, I think I would have told him not to leave me under any circumstances. I think my judgment was already thrown off at this point.

I slowed down quite a bit as I got cold, and when I had been in the water for about 1:20 I started to feel really disoriented. Sort of a cross between being drunk and having an out of body experience. I guess that's the mental confusion they talk about with hypothermia. Luckily I was only about 500 yards from shore at that point, so I just kept plugging away and finally made it. Shivering wasn't as bad as I expected and my head cleared up after about 10 minutes.

Lessons learned:
1. Figure out how to get two of us on that kayak safely.
2. Check the water temperature.
3. Don't encourage your assistance to leave you. Duh!

P.S. To top it all off, we got that parking ticket! ;)


  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I'd move #3 to #1. NEVER LEAVE YOUR SUPPORT BOAT!

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • Well at least you made it back safely. After a close call like yours I usually put it down as experiencing ones limit. You very nearly didn't make it. But you did. That's your limit.
  • I think add to that to have an older/experienced assistant. :)
  • vvisevvise Member
    edited October 2013
    Glad you made it back safely!

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