LOST swim – 3.8 km in waves

If I  look a little nervous here, that’s because I was. The marine forecast today called for metre high waves on Lake Ontario. Fun. I woke up at 6 a.m. to the unsettling sound of rolling thunder all around. It didn’t bode well. I recently discovered the hard way that I get sea sick in high

seas. My friend David said it best. He suggested that I get nauseous while reading in a bathtub. He’s not far off. The idea of getting queasy made me queasy enough to down some natural ginger Gravol, but I feared it may not do the trick in waves that could easily swamp a small vessel. But, I’m not exactly one to quit, and I’m  also a firm believer in the placebo effect, so I figured what the hell. I also kept a constant mantra going in my head that was a bit Dorothy-like. “There’s no need to chuck, there’s no need to chuck…”

Ninety-odd swimmers were waiting at the foot of Maple Grove street in Oakville by 8 a.m. to take on this route in the nastiest conditions this race has experienced to date. Most

were in wetsuits, but there were a few naked swimmers like me, including the inspirational Colleen Shields, a double Lake Ontario crosser whom I had the pleasure to meet a few years ago at Kelvin’s swim camp. Today Colleen was supposed to be going for her third crossing, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Her swim is now postponed until September. Colleen is

in there somewhere, along with me and all the other naked crazies. The worst part was waiting to get on with it, but eventually, we were all in the water bobbing around like sea lions . Here’s a short video: they’reoff (iPhone & iPod)

The waves were okay at the beginning, and then again, at the very end, but in between it was like swimming in the sea. We’d flop down into troughs and then get slapped in the face by the next wave. But the ginger worked and I just kept on going. At one point, I churned through a miniature log jam. I think someone dumped a truckload full of lawn and garden trimmings into the lake. I think I ate a twig at one point. I certainly swallowed a few mouthfuls but only inhaled water once – not bad, considering the fact that I was breathing into the oncoming waves. (Still not breathing bilaterally – oh well.) It was a good swim. The times aren’t posted yet, but hey – I wasn’t last! I only wish my swimming buddy Amanda could have been with me. In the end, I met another Amanda; Amanda Lee Kelessi. She’s the cute young thing pictured here. I asked Kim to take our picture (not because she’s a cute young thing…) but because she is taking on a Lake crossing on August 24. Best of luck to her. Kim took a video of me coming in, so here’s a clip. theend (iPhone & iPod)The guy cheering every one on at the finish is Madhu Nagaraja, who recently became the 50th person to solo swim across Lake Ontario.

I feel ready for next week and the big 10 km race. I did manage to get a three hour swim in last week in Barrie, so hopefully that means I can swim four. What’s another hour? At least there won’t be waves – it’s in a canal. Right now, I’m also thinking about Mel. When I started my race, she started hers – another epic battle. The Dirty Girls 24-hour ultra. Go Mel, go!

Tell me what you really think.