We had a shorter run this morning, so I was able to get out to L1 by 9:30am. Nick swung by and gave me a ride out there, and we met up with Dave and Matt.
The water temperature came in at just around 43F, with similar air temperatures and a calm and clear swim area. I deliberated ditching the dive hood and going in with just a neoprene cap, but Dave convinced me otherwise. I probably would have been fine without the hood since we had tons of sunshine. But I stayed in longer than I expected – so I guess the hood was a good idea!
Dave got an early start and was about 3/4 of the way to the beach before the three of us jumped in. With no chops or swells, it was a textbook swim overall, but not without some excitement…
At around the 1/4 mile mark, Nick got my attention and pointed to a fire department helicopter that was circling the swim area (!). I found out later that the chopper had swooped fairly low to where Dave was swimming up ahead and was doing a recon of the swim area.
So we made sure to swim in a tighter formation and avoid any erratic movements or appearances of distress. That seemed to do the job – i.e. it seemed to convince the pilot that we actually were doing a planned swim!
For the first time since November, I struck bottom on my swim stroke and knew that I had finally reached Oak Street Beach. I can’t tell you what an amazing feeling that was. It’s a sudden verification that Old Man Winter is gone until next December and summer is just around the corner! Matt, Nick, and I took a moment to celebrate this and then turned around for the return 1/2 mile.
We arrived back at L1 and hung out for a while in the abundant sunshine. We haven’t been able to do that for quite some time, either! To commemorate that, Nick and I took a quick celebratory dip sans wetsuit. The lake sure was nippy, but it no longer has that cruel edge that it had last month!
Finally, without giving away any too many spoilers, we had a film crew out with us who’s doing a short documentary on Open Water Chicago. Nick actually wore one of the cameras during his swim, and they took tons of footage and interview clips. I can’t wait until it’s produced and will be sure to post it here right away!
In the meantime, here’s a friendly reminder that swim season has officially opened for all the rest of you: