Swim Report – August 1, 2015 – Dragonfly Edition

Our first swim of August 2015 was unquestionably one of the best ones we’ve had all year. And if you slept in this morning, you sure missed out!

To begin with, the conditions out at L1 were ideal at 5:30am. The 72F lake was calm and clear with eastern horizon already giving us some brilliant pre-sunrise colors. And as more swimmers showed up at our coveted swim spot, the view to the east became even more dazzling.

As we waited for the sun to make its appearance, we were entertained by swarms of dragonflies that hovered over our heads and darted among us doing their best to decimate the lakefront gnat population. Despite this lively show, we soon lost interest in the dragonflies once the sun peeked out above the water line.

I won’t go into detail about how magnificent it was – I’ll just instead defer to the pictures below which you can see for yourself. Suffice to say that it was quite an amazing experience – particularly at water level while in swim.

Given the calm lake conditions, I was able to complete the out and back to Oak Street Beach quite quickly and easily. And when I returned to L1, I had the honor of ushering in several new Lake Monsters.

Congrats to everyone who came out today!

Lake Monsters gathering

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Dragonflies!

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Another perfect sunrise

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The view in swim

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Heading back

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Home again!

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Molly, Lake Monster 369

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John, Lake Monster 370

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Maria, Lake Monster 371

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Tom, Lake Monster 372

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Lisa, Lake Monster 373

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Erik, Lake Monster 374

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More dragonflies

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Sunrise video

Swim Report – July 18, 2015 – Ahead of the Storms

We had some pretty chaotic thunderstorms move into the region yesterday afternoon. But once again, we lucked out at 5:30am!

The air temperature was already a sultry 78F when I arrived at L1. I promptly took a measurement of the lake temperature, and this came in a just under 70F (surface). Given that the sun had yet to even make its appearance, it was obviously going to be a scorcher out at the old swim site!

As the clocked ticked closer to 5:30am, several open water pilgrims began to stream in to L1 – including a number of brand new Lake Monsters. And they couldn’t have picked a more ideal morning!

Just like last week, we had to postpone our swim start for several minutes to enjoy the spectacular sunrise. I made sure to snap as many shots as possible – some of which are featured below. But these can in no way provide you all with the same experience that we had seeing it live.

The swim to and from Oak Street Beach was a waking dream in the calm 68.8F lake (official temp). I got back just as most of the swimmers were finishing up, so I had an opportunity to chat some more with the others and officially recognize all the new Lake Monsters.

After the others left, I stayed out at L1 to conduct my swim clinic. By the time that ended at 9:00am, a gray wall of clouds had already started to move in from the west.

So it looks like we got to experience the best part of the day!

Dawn

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Sunrise!

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Swim start

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At the beach

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Back at L1!

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Phillip, Lake Monster 360

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Emile, Lake Monster 361

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Left to right, Seth, Jerrilynn, and Lisa, Lake Monsters 362, 363, and 364

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Bill, Lake Monster 365

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Paul, Lake Monster 366

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Left to right, Donna and Jeff, Lake Monsters 367 and 368

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Swim Report – July 11, 2015 – Hello Summer!

After a much extended Spring, we finally got our first Summer swim out at L1. And it was magnificent!

Mother Nature did not disappoint us this morning. In stark contrast to the last several weeks, this time we had clear skies and a calm lake along with a water temp reading that came in at a balmy 66F. All combined, it was nothing short of perfect swim conditions.

A lively group of swimmers showed up at 5:25am – including some veteran Lake Monsters that we haven’t seen since last year. So we had a mini reunion out by L1 that was only interrupted by the big bright red sunrise that just demanded our attention!

Given the ideal lake conditions, it was both an easy and pleasant out-and-back swim to Oak Street Beach. As typical, a group of us congregated there and socialized for a while before heading back. But there wasn’t this urgent need to get swimming again to stave off the cold.

By the time I got back to L1, the sun had long since shed its scarlet hue and was out in full force – pretty much guaranteeing that there would be no afterdrop this time. And that was a very welcome change!

Welcome to Summer 2015!

L1 at Daybreak

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Sunrise!

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In swim shots

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At the beach

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Jim, Lake Monster 359

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One last look back

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This morning’s video compilation

Swim Report – June 27, 2015 – Summer Swells

I was a bit concerned about what the lake would present to us at 5:15am since the forecast called for 20mph+ winds – typically a precursor of very high waves. Fortunately, the lake was nowhere near as bad as it could have been!

Our first official meetup of summer sure didn’t feel like it. The air temperature was a brisk 59F when we arrived at L1, and we had a steady wind from the north that was making it seem more like an early spring morning. Nevertheless, the lake rallied in our favor and provided us with a magnificent 63.1F reading.

The swim was a bit of a challenge given rather heavy chops and 2-3 foot swells. Plus, the winds picked up mid-swim and intensified the swells even more. Still, for as agitated as it was, the lake was perfectly clear and you could easily see 8 feet to the bottom.

Great stuff overall!

Gearing up

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Scoping out the swim scene

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In the drink

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Lake Monster action shots

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Ron, Lake Monster 356

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Sarah, Lake Monster 357

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Laura, Lake Monster 358

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Swim start video

Swim Report – June 20, 2015 – Last Spring meetup

A quick swim report since we finally got a sunny day, and I’m not going to stay inside and squander the first official day of Summer!

We had yet another fantastic turnout for our last official Spring meetup, including several Lake Monsters who we haven’t seen since last October. The lake temp came in at a crisp 60.6F – almost the same as the air temp. And while we didn’t get a full sunrise due to the overcast skies, the sun did peek out very briefly and gave us a nice sendoff to our swim.

I got in an out-and-back mile, which was a bit more challenging on the way back due to a slight southbound current. But everyone had a blast on the second longest day of the year!

Lake Monsters gathering

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Sunrise!

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Class picture at the beach!

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Lake Monster action shot

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Chris, Lake Monster 355

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Swim Report – June 13, 2015 – Morning Fog Edition

Quite a crowd of swimmers showed up at L1 just before 5:15am. And for those that were training for an upcoming Alcatraz swim, it was the ideal setting!

The angry yellow and red bands of thunderstorms that showed up on the weather radar were fortunately passing to the south of us when we arrived at the swim site. But we still had to contend with some of the peripheral effects of the inclement weather – namely a heavy fog layer that all but obliterated the skyline. However, we got a surprising bonus from Mother Nature that greatly enhanced our swim experience.

For this first time since last October, the meetup lake temperature came in at above 60F. I say meetup temperature as I have heard rumors that it flared past that coveted mark earlier in the week. But since we only care about the conditions that are there when we’re on site, this was a welcome first for the year!

After the typical socializing/procrastinating, we all got in the murky lake and started the journey south to Oak Street Beach. Visibility was good in-swim, but it was impossible to sight off of the skyline. That really wasn’t much of an issue since the swells were minor (less than two feet) and you could clearly see the side wall the entire time.

I finally caught up with some of the others at the beach. I snapped a few shots, and we all turned around and headed back. By the time we arrived back at L1, the air temperature had risen a bit from the rather chilly 56F that greeted us at sunrise. This, coupled with the 60.4F lake temp, was probably why I had no afterdrop at all despite swimming sans wetsuit.

Hope to see more of you out there soon!

L1 at 5:15am

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A surprisingly large crowd on a chilly, foggy morning!

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Lake Monsters in their element

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Beach shots

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Erick, Lake Monster 354

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The sun finally peeks through the shroud

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Today’s video!

Swim Report – June 6, 2015 – Spring Chill

There really is no way to spin it – 5:15am is dreadfully early in the morning. Plus, the absolute last thing you want to do at that early hour on a Saturday is to jump into a cold, wavy lake. But we Lake Monsters are a hardy lot!

Ma Nature gave us a smackdown this morning with overcast skies, 53.8F water temperatures, and 2-4 foot swells that walloped us the entire time in the lake. Nevertheless, an intrepid crew of ten Lake Monsters tempted fate and got in a swim just after a very fleeting but resplendent sunrise.

The half mile to Oak Street Beach was actually fairly straightforward since we were swimming with the current. The way back to L1, though, was quite an ordeal. Being a slower swimmer, I was one of the last out of the water. So I got the benefit of all that extra time in the frigid lake (lucky me!).

A few of us stuck around for a while after the swim and socialized. By then the sun had started to come out more. Plus we had plenty of time (it was still only 6:30am, after all). But I was still in the throes of a persistent afterdrop, so I hightailed it back to my car to ratchet up the heat.

Yet another fun adventure out at the lake!

L1 at 5:15am

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A brief sunrise

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The skyline in-swim

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At Oak Street Beach

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Jim, Lake Monster 351

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Tom, Lake Monster 352

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Getting sunnier!

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OWC’s avian fan club

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Today’s video clips

D-Day – June 6, 1944

DDay

Already the sea runs red. Even among some of the lightly wounded who jumped into shallow water the hits prove fatal. Knocked down by a bullet in the arm or weakened by fear and shock, they are unable to rise again and are drowned by the onrushing tide. Other wounded men drag themselves ashore and, on finding the sands, lie quiet from total exhaustion, only to be overtaken and killed by the water. A few move safely through the bullet swarm to the beach, then find that they cannot hold there. They return to the water to use it for body cover. Faces turned upward, so that their nostrils are out of water, they creep toward the land at the same rate as the tide. That is how most of the survivors make it. The less rugged or less clever seek the cover of enemy obstacles moored along the upper half of the beach and are knocked off by machine-gun fire.

First Wave at Omaha Beach (S.L.A. Marshall)

Memorial Day 2015

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (May 3, 1915)

Swim Report – May 23, 2015 – Spring Chops

We sure had our work cut out for us this morning out at the old swim site!

I got a real early start and made it out to L1 just before 5:00am. Judging by the crisp colors showing up on the eastern horizon, I could immediately tell that we were in for a spectacular sunrise.

The lake temperature came in at a uniform 55.4F which was just slightly higher than the air temperature. And while we had clear skies and great visibility, we also had a 10mph sustained wind coming from the southeast that gave us some rather vigorous chops.

Four new swimmers as well as several seasoned Lake Monsters showed up just before the sun made its grand appearance at 5:20am. And as you can tell by the photos, it was one for the ages!

I went in with just my jammers and swim cap this time, and I managed to do the full out-and-back mile. The return leg seemed much easier, and I suspect we had been swimming in a slight northbound current on the way to Oak Street Beach.

Despite the heavily agitated lake, visibility was excellent – you could easily make out the ridges in the sand eight feet below the surface. And even with the random chops constantly buffeting us from all sides, it was still one of the best swims we’ve had so far this year!

As I have opined incessantly over the years, if you slept in this morning you really missed out!

The scene at daybreak

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Entering the chops

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Sunrise at water level

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Marton on the way to the beach

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Linda, Lake Monster 347

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Todd, Lake Monster 348

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Jacob, Lake Monster 349

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Jason, Lake Monster 350

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Pre-swim and in-swim video footage!