Swim Report – November 28, 2021 – Fall Turnover Edition

We had a surprisingly great showing of Lake Monsters on a rather bitingly cold (32F air temp) late autumn morning. Perhaps it was the later swim time, but I’m convinced that it’s more of a factor of having a newer group of swimmers who are excited about getting the winter lake experience. And they certainly got a taste of it this morning!

I checked the lake temperature with my new thermometer, and the surface temperature came in at 41F. I took several readings and concluded that the lake had indeed finally turned over since our last meetup on November 14. So I’m expecting that we will likely start seeing lake temps below 40F by our next meetup (fun times!).

I again opted to go with a neoprene shorty and cap, and I was quit comfortable during the swim with the exception of my hands and feet. My hands in particular really took a beating in the 41.6F lake (official in-swim reading), so I limited my swim to 1/4 mile. Bottom line – I shall be donning my gloves and booties going forward!

The saving grace to our swim was that we had a clear morning at 6:45am. As you can see from the pics, we had a great sunrise with abundant sunshine that really helped temper things pre and post swim. And while I still had a bit of an afterdrop, it was actually quite manageable compared with the overcast skies we had during our last outing.

Looking forward to December!

Lake Monsters gathering
Sunrise sequence
A welcome sight!

Swim Report – November 14, 2021 – Grey Dawn

Three of us met out at L1 for our second November swim of 2021. I wasn’t expecting the lake to be that palatable since we had overcast skies and a 37F air temp. But much to my surprise, the lake came in at a scorching 50F – rather higher than I was expecting for this time of year. I managed to get in 1/2 mile, but post-swim was a challenge with a slight drizzle and a biting wind that had reappeared just in time for my afterdrop. But all in all, another great morning the world’s best swmmin’ spot!

Grey Skyline
The L1 changing room and warming station
An obscured sunrise

Swim Report – November 7, 2021 –

Eight of us made it out to L1 at 6:30am just a few minutes before sunrise, and it was another splendid one! While we were admiring Ma Nature’s handiwork, I got a quick reading on the lake temperature which ready just under 52F (51F in swim). The air temperature was a bit more crisp at 48F, but we had clear and sunny skies which took a bit of the edge off of the chill.

I decided to go with a neoprene shorty and cap this time since I had a rather fitful night of sleep thanks to some fussy little ones. Turns out that was a good call, as I was quite comfortable in the lake the entire time. I did my usual 1/2 mile (the long loop version), and hung out with the others for a little while longer in the lake a few meters from L1.

Bottom line, another great swim in a lake that’s still hovering above 50F – at least for now!

Lake Monsters at daybreak
Sunrise sequence
Heading south
Maurice, Lake Monster 534 (congrats!)
Ray, Lake Monster 535 (congrats!)
Post swim

Swim Report – October 31, 2021 – Halloween Edition

The days of warmer water are quickly coming to an end as the lake teeters on the precipice of the Fall turnover. However, we still managed to get a 56.4F lake temp on All Hallows’ Eve – certainly higher than what I was expecting!

Given a 48F air temp, we wasted little time in between donning our swim gear and getting in the lake. However, once in, it was a lovely experience. The sun was out in force, and we had some very slight swells which added some variety to the swim without interfering with it.

I will stress it again that October sunrises are some of the best of the year. And if you don’t believe me, just check out the shots below!

Morning skyline
Dawn colors
Sunrise sequence!
Lake Monsters pre-swim
Another perfect morning for a swim!

Swim Report – October 24, 2021 – Whitecap Edition

The lake was a bit of a hot mess at 7:00am with heavy chops and steadily increasing swells courtesy of a sustained wind from the east. But the water temperature came in at a surprisingly balmy 60F lake temp – much more pleasant that the 47F air temp! Because of this, I went in with just my jammers and neoprene cap, and wasn’t in any discomfort during the swim.

Overall, I got in just under 1/2 mile in the chaotic lake with the most frustrating part being that it was near impossible to get in a steady swim rhythm in the chops. But it sure was fun!

The scene at 7:00am
Brief sunrise

Swim Report – October 17, 2021 – Autumn Paradise

Well it’s certainly no longer summer out at the lake!

For the first time since last Spring, I dressed in layers to go out to the lake as the air temperature had dropped to 46F at 7:00am. Plus we also had a breeze from the north that harangued us while we were out of the water. But the real treat was the lake temperature which came in at an absolutely delightful 64.2F!

In the 14 years since I’ve been coming out to the lake and doing swims year-round, I can quite confidently state that October swims are some of the most memorable. That’s because the change of the season brings about a degree of color, clarity, and contrast to the lakefront that isn’t as intense during other months of the year. This translates to amazing sunrises, brilliant fall colors, and overall great photo opportunities. Plus, since the Fall Turnover doesn’t take place until late October/early November, the lake is still fairly warm (i.e. 55F – 65F) for most of the month.

So despite the nippy outside air temperature, things were quite comfortable in the wonderfully balmy lake. Having just recuperated from a bad cold, I did just under 1/2 mile in a long, lazy loop (i.e. no beach landing). But I could very well have stayed in the water all day. So I hope you all go out to the lake on Sunday. Or even better, IN the lake!

Dawn colors
Sun worshipping Lake Monsters
Back at L1!

Swim Report – October 3, 2021 – Missing Sunrise Edition

The temperature drop we had the previous week looks to have been an aberration as the lake came in at 67.4F – almost on par with the 68F air temp. The skies were overcast, but both the water and air were warm enough that this didn’t really make a difference. So the verdict was perfect swimming conditions at 6:30am – wish you could have bene out this morning!

All calm at 6:30am!
Hanging out with the birds

Swim Report – September 26, 2021 – Hello Autumn!

Four Lake Monster made it out to L3 at 6:30am, and we could already tell that the summer was a mere wisp of a memory. The outside air temperature came in at 60F – normally not too daunting, but it had a crisp feel to it that wasn’t there just a short while ago. Also, in case we didn’t need any reminder that we were on the other side of the equinox, the lake temperature came in at 63.8F – almost a 10F degree drop from two weeks ago (ulp!).

Nevertheless, we were undeterred by the first glimpse of things to come, and we got in the water without any hesitation. It was still quite balmy in just a cap, goggles, and jammers (for me at least), but I opted to do a long 1/2 mile loop versus a point-to-point to the beach. This was because the walk back would have been a bit nippy given the lower air temp and a gusty wind from the west. Still, it was the perfect balance between the warmer water of late summer and the amazing sunrises that we typically start seeing in October.

So get out to the lake while we are still in the 60F+ zone!

Dawn skyline (with L1 kiddie pool at the bottom right)
Moon shot to the south
The moment before sunrise at L3
Another perfect morning!

Swim Report – September 12, 2021 – Goodbye Summer!

In what turned out to be the last of our official summer meetups, Lake Michigan gave us a 72.4F lake temp which was slightly higher than the 71F air temp – in other words, ideal conditions! Also, it certainly helped that we had calm and clear water which made my point-to-point swim to Oak Street Beach a real gem. Hope you got in one last swim before the equinox!

A sliver of a sunrise just to the right of the water crib
That’s more like it!

Swim Report – September 5, 2021 – Hints of Autumn

We’re definitely feeling the change in seasons these days. The sunrises are later in the morning, and there is a slight chill present in the air that wasn’t there in late August. But September and October are two of my favorite months for outdoor swimming as the lake temperature usually stays fairly high, and the sunrises are just spectacular. And this was certainly that case last weekend!

I found myself hustling out to the lakefront after a longer than expected ride out the city. Apparently, the Bike the Drive event was rescheduled for Labor Day weekend (it’s usually held on Memorial Day weekend), so Lake Shore Drive was completely shut down. As a result, I had to take an alternate route through the city to get to our swim site. But the silver lining was that I got to experience a wave on nostalgia driving past all my old haunts and hangouts on Clark and Broadway.

Once on site at L1 everything was fantastic. We had a great turnout (likely driven by the 6:15am sunrise), and the lake temperature came in at an amazing 73.0F – much more comfortable than the 63F air temperature. I did a point-to-point 1/2 mile to Oak Street Beach and walked back to L1 where everyone was still hanging out. I jumped in one more time as the conditions were perfect. I could have stayed out there all day, but I had to get up north to attend to my two little ones (and two future Lake Monsters!).

Hope you got out to (and into) the lake last Sunday!

Dawn skyline (and a green L1!)
Another perfect day!