I’ve been itching to get into the water again at Cherry Beach, ever since my swimming buddy Amanda let me know weeks ago that the water was a balmy 18 C – about as warm as it ever got all last summer. Bronchitis scuppered any plans to join her shoreside, until this morning.
Before 8, I was in the car, singing en route to Cherry Beach. I rarely sing. I can’t sing. I was just so damned happy to be going swimming again. Kim Lumsden was on the beach with a pod of triathletes in their wetsuits, waiting for her to put them through their paces. I was chuffed when she introduced me as someone she trains with – and as someone who swam Alcatraz without a wetsuit. Ok, I’ll admit it. I was dead proud to be introduced as a swimmer by one of the coolest swimmers ever. Kim has swum across Lake Ontario. Twice. The first time was when she was 19 and only the 11th person in the world to accomplish the feat, and the last time was in 2006, when she was 49 and, at the time, the oldest person to have swum the lake. An interesting aside, there have only been 56 officially recognized solo swims of Lake Ontario, and only about 50 swimmers, given super-stars who did it more than once, like Kim. She tells me that there are 10 swimmers hoping to swim Lake Ontario or Lake Erie this summer. Good luck to them.
Amanda arrived and we left Kim’s pod for own little adventure. The water felt more like 15 than 18. It certainly wasn’t horribly cold. There was no face-sting factor, which tells me when to be mindful of hypothermia, and no chop. It was perfectly comfortable (once you’re in, that is). We struck out for the gap and took a moment to enjoy the view of the CN Tower from that unique vantage point. Then we swam back to the lifeguard dock, and headed east, close to the shore, to the point. On the way back, we opted for a more direct route. Total water time was about an hour and five minutes, and about 2.5 km.
This summer, we hope to swim across to the Leslie Spit early one morning with a few more swimmers, for safety. Maybe we’ll swim to the island again this year. We just have to watch out for the pesky harbour patrol and kite boarders on windy days. Can’t wait.