Swim Report – June 24, 2017 – All Summer in a Morning

Our first summer meetup brought out several new swimmers as well as some recently minted Lake Monsters who are now officially part of the “hardcore morning crew.” Indeed, being just on the other side of the solstice, the 5:14am swim time is most certainly a challenge. But we had a great group this morning that gleefully thumbed their noses at the sandman and got their swim in at sunrise!

Speaking of sunrises, this one was one of the top ones I’ve seen in quite some time. In fact, the entire lake front was incredibly photogenic this morning – hence the color, contrast, and clarity of the images below (people always ask me what camera I use, and I always tell them that the camera is irrelevant – if you’re out at L1 this time of the morning, you’re going to get the shot on any device!).

The lake temp came in at a fantastic 61.7F lake temp, and we had lots of sunshine to accompany us throughout our swim. But the real treat was the aquarium clear water which gave us a unique glimpse of the underwater landscape around L1 – including the occasional pod of lake salmon which would criss cross beneath us during our time in the lake.

As with last week, I did a 1/2 mile point to point swim to the beach and walked back. By the time I returned to L1, the sun was still almost due east on the horizon. This made for some great shots of all the brand new Lake Monsters!

Great job everyone!

Dawn of a new Summer…

Another perfect sunrise

Swimmers at the shrine of L1

Everybody in the lake!

Geese conga line

Underwater shots

Bernie, Lake Monster 442 (congrats!)

Nora, Lake Monster 443 (congrats!)

Kathleen, with lucky Lake Monster number 444 (congrats!)

Katie, a triumphant Lake Monster 445 (congrats!)

Steve, Lake Monster 446 (congrats!)

Michelle, Lake Monster 447 (congrats!)

Rochelle, Lake Monster 448 (congrats!)

Rob, Lake Monster 449, hailing all the way from the UK (congrats!)

Sunrise and in-swim video compilation

Swim Report – June 18, 2017 – Farewell Spring!

Once again, the weather gods cooperated this morning to give us a great swim!

Five of us met out at L1 for a special Sunday bonus meetup – and last official meetup of Spring 2017 – and the swimming conditions were about as perfect as it could get. The lake temp came in at 63.1F, and the overcast skies began to burn off while we were getting suited up, giving the sun a chance to shine through.

The initial immersion was a bit crisp given that the thermocline layer was really close to the surface around L1. But it was more than tolerable with the 73F air temperature.

I did the same 1/2 mile route as yesterday – a landing at Oak Street Beach followed by a walk back to L1. There were definitely some cold spots along the way, but the lake was amazingly clear – so much so that I had to dive down to the bottom several times to check out some of the items that people had either lost or inadvertently tossed into the lake.

As I’ve said repeatedly in the past, we typically tend to luck out with the weather and lake conditions around sunrise – even if the weather forecast is gloomy for that hour. For some reason, if there’s going to be inclement weather, it doesn’t usually kick in until later in the morning.

So don’t get discouraged by all the talking heads on the news channels. Trust the lake instead!

The 5:14am crew

No storms here!

Stephanie, Lake Monster 440 (congrats!)

Gio, Lake Monster 441 (congrats!)

Swim Report – June 17, 2017 – Squeaking By

All the conventional wisdom and expert opinion of the weather experts pointed towards a disastrous thunderstorm taking place just around the time of our swim start. Fortunately for us, the climate industrial complex was wrong as usual…

Ten of us obstinate Lake Monsters met out at L1 in spite of the doom-saying, and we managed to get in a very pleasant swim in some amazingly calm and clear water. The lake came in at an almost perfect 63.8F (surface). It was a bit nippier below the two meter mark, but the thermocline layer sure made everything as clear as an aquarium!

While we had a rather ominous cloud bank pass us by to the north, no thunderstorm ever materialized. In fact, the only thing we got was a very brief downpour way after most of us had already finished up with our swim.

The ironic thing is that, while the skies cleared up over the next few hours, the winds also picked up and the lake became choppier. So from a pure swimming conditions perspective, we once again got the best part of the day!

Skyline at dawn

A bit of ugliness to the north


Calm conditions at 5:20am!

Beach class picture

Larry, Lake Monster 438 (congrats!)

Pat, Lake Monster 439 (congrats!)

Swim Report – June 10, 2017 – Hello Summer!

Whenever the lake cracks the 60F ceiling, it’s officially summer – solstice be damned!

Ten of us met out at L1 at the ungodly hour of 5:14am, and we were greeted with a picture perfect morning. I had already been up for most of the night thanks to Hurricane Joseph, so it was a relatively painless process getting out to the swim site at such an early time.

It was already 70F outside, and the lake temperature (surface) came in at 61.5F. So I went with just my jammers, but I did don a thermo cap given that I was feeling the cold a bit more due to my lack of sleep.

Since I hadn’t been out to L1 in a couple of weeks, I really wanted to make a beach landing. So I decided to do a point-to-point 1/2 mile to Oak Street Beach and walk back.

It was actually a very pleasant stroll back to L1 as there was no afterdrop whatsoever. Something tells me that I may not get to experience one of those until October – and I’m perfectly fine with that!

Sunrise shots

Lake Monsters in their element

Crystal clear water!

The view from water level

Beach landing!

D-Day – June 6, 1944


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)

Joseph Stephen Hernan – May 31, 2017

Swim Report – May 27, 2017 – Holiday Weekend!

The weatherman was wrong for once. Instead of scattered thunderstorms, we had lots of sun for Memorial Day weekend along with a perfectly swimmable lake. Not that anyone complained, of course…

To be honest, things weren’t looking too good on Friday night. It was rather cold and rainy, and I wasn’t sure what to expect at 5:20am the next morning. But fate was kind to us, and things pretty much cleared up by the time I hit the sack.

I had to hustle out to the swim site the following morning as I was running a bit late. But I got there with a few minutes to spare before the sunrise. And it sure was a beauty!

The lake temp came in at a very respectable 57.6F and climbing, so we got on our gear and got in the lake right away. I had been fighting off a bad cold the entire week, so it was a bit more of a challenge acclimating to the lake at first. But I soon found my groove and started heading south.

I made it to the 1/8 mile mark and started to get a bit fatigued. Apparently the cold still had its claws in me pretty tightly. So I backtracked a bit and did a leisurely swim out to the buoys. By then the morning clouds had burned off, so you had a clear view from one of the best places to see the skyline.

I hung out by the buoys for a short while before heading back to L1. By then the sun was out in full force and the air temperature had gotten up to the low 60Fs.

I wish I could brag to you all and say that we got the best part of the weekend on Saturday morning. But things just kept getting better and better through today. And since the beaches are now officially open, it is officially time for all of you to ditch those nasty indoor pools and get out to the lake – where you belong!

Lakefront at dawn


Lake Monsters in action

Out by the buoy

Luke, Lake Monster 437 (congrats!)

Friday night Hancock

Memorial Weekend J-Turn

Swim Report – May 13, 2017 – Back on track!

After an unexpected dip in the lake temperature last week, we lucked out with an in-swim temp of 54.0F yesterday morning. And if that wasn’t great enough, we also had phenomenal swimming conditions!

As we get closer to the summer solstice, the sunrise times are getting earlier and earlier. So it can be quite challenging to muster enough motivation to leave the comfort of one’s warm bed in exchange for a 5:30am cold shock immersion. Nevertheless, we persisted…

I fortunately arrived early, so I was able to get my mandatory blonde roast at the Cool Starbucks on Clark Street (versus at the pretentious one on Wells). So by the time I finished the walk down to L1, I was properly caffeinated and in a much better pre-swim state of mind!

The lake was smooth as glass, and the surface temperature came in at 54.6F. So I chose to go in with just my jammers, thermo cap, and a healthy layer of shea butter. Since we had a calm, windless morning with plenty of sunshine, I wasn’t worried about the lake temp at all. And while it was a bit crisper than I had anticipated, I got used to it right away.

Because there were no waves or chops, it was ridiculously easy to maintain a smooth and regular swim rhythm. I used this rare opportunity to work on my bilateral breathing and to monitor and correct my woefully inconsistent swim form. But I also spent a fair amount of time just enjoying the luxury of a calm lake!

I ended up doing a 1/2 mile swim, but it was a point-to-point one this time. I decided to keep on going at the 1/4 mile mark and continue on to Oak Street Beach, making my first beach landing of 2017 (yay!).

The walk back to L1 was quite tolerable since it was still sunny with an air temperature of 56F and climbing. I did a few sets of sprints along the way to stave off the afterdrop which tried desperately to break through several times. But with the warmer days and higher lake temperatures, I think we can finally say good riddance to our old post-swim nemesis for a while.

And I’m perfectly fine with that!



Lake Monsters pre-swim

Skyline action shot

Beach landing!

On the walk back

Swim finish!

Lola makes an appearance

Swim Report – May 6, 2017 – Pushback

Five of us met out at L1 at 5:40am, just in time to catch yet another amazing Spring sunrise. The lake was a bit more calm than last week, but it had decided to misbehave in other ways…

I put in the surface thermometer, totally expecting to see the lake in the 53F+ range. However, much to my dismay, the reading came back at a stinging 49.5F (ulp!).

After our usually ritualistic procrastination, we suited up and trotted out to good ole’ L1. I was sporting just my jammers and a thermo cap over my silicone one. The lake was a tad bit more bracing than I had anticipated, but the bite wore off after a couple of minutes.

I did my usual out and back to the 1/4 mile mark – or about 1/2 mile total. However, the way back was far more difficult as the swells had intensified in just a short time period.

Post-swim was a regression to earlier times where I had to contend with a lengthier than usual afterdrop. But even with this unexpected change in the lake, it was still a fantastic morning with yet another adventure to start off the weekend!

Sunrise sequence

Swim finish

Jennifer, Lake Monster 436, braving the sub-50F lake (congrats!)

Swim Report – April 28/29, 2017 – Half Century Edition

I ushered in my fifth decade with two days of swimming, and they couldn’t have been any more different from each other!

Friday morning up at Lighthouse Beach was a real gem. The forecasted gloomy weather had not yet arrived, so there was plenty of sunshine along with calm, clear water. The air temperature was 56F, and the water temperature reading was a crisp but invigorating 52.5F – practically ideal swimming conditions!

I had re-injured my right shoulder earlier in the week after lifting some stuff incorrectly, so I just did some easy swim strokes on the surface and underwater. However, soaking in all that colder water really helped speed my recovery – which would prove to be quite valuable the next morning!

Unlike Friday’s serene setting, Saturday’s lake was a high energy adventure. We had 4 to 6 foot swells, 20mph+ wind gusts, overcast skies, and a much cooler air temperature of 44F. Fortunately for the few of us who made it out, the lake came in at an estimated 53.0F (it was likely warmer than that – I could not get a reading on my thermometer as the batteries ran out!).

Because of the more challenging swim conditions, I wore my neoprene short sleeve top so I would have a bit more thermo protection. I probably could have gone without it as I was completely comfortably the entire time I was in the water.

I got out to the 1/4 mile point before turning back. The swim back to L1 was a LOT more difficult for all of us as the swells had picked up a bit and we had to make the return journey into the waves. But we all made it back unscathed with yet another adventure under our belts!

Once we changed back into our civilian clothes and shook off our afterdrops, we headed out to Elly’s 24 for breakfast. It was a fantastic time, and a wonderful way to cap off a great morning!

Many thanks to everyone who came out – I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday meetup!

Scenes from Friday

A different lake on Saturday!

Saturday’s video compilation