Swim Report – November 3, 2019 – Fall Turnover Edition

As fortunate would dictate, the lake was very calm on Sunday, and we took full advantage if it. My first priority upon arriving was to use this fleeting opportunity to clear the area around L1 which had become dangerously slippery due to an accumulation of slime/algae. So while I was waiting for a temperature reading, I got to work with a hard bristle broom and scoured the concrete, creating a safer path out to the lake.

When that tiring labor was complete, I checked on the lake thermometer which came back at 48.5F (49.0F in swim). This was somewhat of a surprise as the water didn’t have the “sting factor” on my exposed feet that usually accompanies anything under 50F. So I figured that the 34.0F air temperature was giving a lower lake surface temp reading. During this time, several other Lake Monsters arrived, and we took in the brilliant autumn colors out to the east (see pics below). After that, we all geared up and got into big bad Lake Michigan.

The initial immersion was a bit brisk for me as I went in with only my jammers and neoprene cap. However, I had done some cold water priming earlier in the morning and had slathered on a very generous layer of shea butter – all of which made a world of difference in-swim.

The lake was a murky light green color which is a telltale sign that we are in the middle of the fall turnover and that we are now swimming in the “winter layer.” This typically takes place in late October or early November, so we are spot on as far as timing.

I did an estimated 1/3 mile in total before getting out, and I immediately got out of my wet swim gear and into several layers of warm clothing. Lucky for us, it was still fairly sunny out and there was no wind. So that meant that the post-swim afterdrop wasn’t as severe as it usually is (thank goodness).

Overall, another great morning out at the world’s most photogenic swim site. Wish you could have been there!

Amazing colors at daybreak!
Lake Monsters post swim

Swim Report – July 21, 2019 – Storm Delay

Things weren’t looking too promising at 5:30am on Sunday. But fortunately our patience paid off!

I saw it as a good omen that I was able to secure rock star parking at the end of North Avenue – right near the pedestrian underpass. But I was a bit apprehensive as I could see flashes of lightning as I was pulling into the spot – not a good sign. So I made the quick trajet to L1 the scope out the scene.

Other than the t-storm activity, the lakefront was almost as good as it gets – we only had slight swells, and the lake temperature came in at a cooler but actually more favorable 63.8F. We checked the weather radar, and there was a storm system passing to the north of us with a trailing edge that was impacting us farther south. So we played the waiting game for about an hour until we no longer saw any new flashes.

When we finally started our swim, the swells had picked up a bit making entry a challenge. So we carefully navigated the slick concrete and opted to swim a bit closer to the side wall so we could get out quickly in the event the thunder and lightning reappeared.

Lucky for us, the storm had completely passed L1, so we were able to complete our swim unimpeded. I did 1/2 mile total – an out and back tot he 1/4 mile mark – and the water was quite comfortable even with the overcast skies. So if you decided to sleep in because of the storms, you missed out on a great swim!

L1 and the skyline at 5:30am
Still looking sketchy at 6:00am!
The lightning ceases and fog moves in
Teri, Lake Monster 516 (congrats!)

Swim Report – March 3, 2019 – Happy March!

March came in like a lion with unseasonably cold air temperatures, but it showed its lamb-like side with mild winds. So while we had to contend with some rather biting 21.0F conditions outside of the lake, the in-swim experience was about as good as it gets – even with a lake temperature of 33.0F.

I checked out the view to my left while heading south on Lake Shore Drive, and all I saw was a lakefront choked with ice floes. So I was somewhat measured in my optimism about being able to get in a swim. However, the hydrodynamics of our current swim area have proven to be quite contrarian to those of most of the lakefront. And indeed, we were greeted with a completely open lake with almost perfectly flat conditions!

As with prior weeks, we suited up in the sanctuary of our heated cars before venturing out to the swim entry area. Not being one to give in easily to us mere mortals, Ma Nature decided to throw us a curve ball by encasing the base of all the ladders in ice. But her attempts at obstruction were no match for the pick axe that I carry in the trunk of my car. So after a brief bit of chopping, we donned our goggles and got in the pristine lake.

Since we had such a vast swath of open water to play in, we ventured out further from the shore and did a couple of large loops in the mostly calm water. I say mostly because there was a slight southbound current that we noticed in-swim that gave us a bit of drift in that direction. But it wasn’t even perceptible unless one stopped to tread water for more than a few minutes.

Overall, I got in just over 1/8 mile before my fingertips became uncomfortably cold to the point that I had to call it a day and get out. This was unfortunate, as not only was the water quite calm, but it was also amazingly clear – so much so that you could see the lake bottom which was about 8 feet below the surface. Fingers crossed that we get these swim conditions next time!

Open swim area!
Lake access with a little help from Home Depot
Venturing beyond the harbor
See you later!

Swim Report – February 10, 2019 – Ice, Ice, Baby

Two weeks ago, I opened the window and “influenza.” So I haven’t been able to get out to the lake until recently. Fortunately, the swim gods felt some pity and threw us a bone on Sunday…

The extreme cold snap of the prior week had iced over the lakefront making swimming all but impossible. And with a 25F air temp and and a west wind pushing all the ice towards the shore, things weren’t looking very positive for a swim. However, we managed to find an area with a small patch of open water, so we decided to at least get in a quick dip.

The office lake temp came in at 33.4F – about average for this time of year. The water was not as murky as last month, so it looks as if the colder, more clear water from below is starting to mix up with the “winter layer” that forms this time of year. This is welcome news as this is more fun to swim in, and you can get some pretty awesome underwater photos.

While in the water, we managed to expand our swimmable area by breaking apart the thinner ice sheets. However, we didn’t want to have too much contact with it as the sharper edges could slice up our neoprene. So in the end, we did some very brisk wading in what was essentially a small pool with short lanes. Not a huge workout, but it still counts as a winter swim!

Icy skyline
Sheets of glass by the shore
Open water!
Ice Monster sighting!
Another relaxing Sunday morning

Swim Report – January 6, 2019 – Cold Chops

Quick report as I’m finally out of holiday mode and playing catch up! The lake came in at 36.1F on Sunday morning. We had a brief but beautiful sunrise at L1, but we opted not to swim there again (follow up post on this topic forthcoming).

Not to be thwarted, we went north to our second favorite swim spot and got in a brief swim. We could easily have stayed in the water much longer, but the agitated, washing machine-like chops made swimming in an orderly manner an exercise in futility. Still, we got in the lake and started off 2019 on a happy note!

Dawn colors at L1
Sharing the lake with the geese

Swim Report – July 15, 2017 – Ahead of the waves

A quite sizable group of early morning swimmers showed up at L1 at 5:28am. As expected, we had clear skies and a magnificent sunrise. The water level, though, was a bit of a surprise.

The lake was at the highest level I have seen in years. Perhaps this was due to all the recent storms, but it was certainly a contrast to the lower than normal lake levels of a few years ago.

We had some slight swells (1 to 2 feet) that seemed to intensify as the morning went on. However, no one complained about the 69.1F water.

In sum, another great morning out at the old swim site. And given that the lakefront was shut down the next day due to heavy waves and currents, it looks like we picked the best time to sneak in a swim!

Scenes at sunrise

Taking the plunge

At the beach

Liz, Lake Monster 451 (congrats!)

Noah, Lake Monster 452 (congrats!)

Ernst, Lake Monster 453 (congrats!)

Swim Report – July 1, 2017 – Happy July!

This will be a quick one as it’s a mighty fine weekend, and I don’t want to squander it in front of the computer!

Suffice to say, this was another perfect morning for a swim. And despite the 5:20am swim start, we had a good size crew show up – including a few Lake Monsters that we haven’t seen since last year!

The lake came in at 65.1F on the surface, although there were definitely some colder layers below that you could occasionally feel mid-stroke. But the water was calm and clear, and we had plenty of sunshine to overcome any unexpected chilly water!

Dawn colors

Lake Monster gathering

Swim start

Mid-swim by the buoy

Swim finish and full on sunshine!

Ashley, Lake Monster 450 (congrats!)

Support Team Carol – Donate Today!

Hi everyone! Be sure to come on out to Ohio Street Beach on Saturday morning, July 23, the cheer on Team Carol! Here is our fabulous roster of swimmers:

Laura Kochevar
Sharon Bielski
Mary Rose Birch
Katie Bublitz
Stephen Hernan
Amanda Hunt
Donna Hynes
Kelly Hynes
Laura Hynes
Michael Hynes
Jonathan Leuchs
Scott Rooney

FYI, we’re just shy of reaching our team fundraising goal of $5,000 for the July 23 Swim Across America event, and each of our swimmers has his or her own individual fundraising goal as well.

So please check out the Team Carol Website for this event and feel free to donate to either individual swimmers or to the group as a whole.

And we hope to see you all out at the lake on the 23rd!


Independence Day 2011

Happy 4th!

Are You Ready Yet for Summer?

Here’s a shot of our swim site I found online. It was taken during the summer (obviously), and if you look really close you can see “The Chairman” in the water just off of Ladder #1!