Swim Report – June/July, 2020 – (Re)Open Water Chicago

Being that we are now smack dab in the middle of the month of Messidor, it’s long overdue for an update from OWC central. So here goes…

First of all, there are unfortunately no planned OWC meetups for the time being as I cannot possibly predict how many people would show up were I to publicly post details on any planned get together (and we tend to get MUCH larger turnouts during the summer months). Simply put, there is no way to effectively limit turnout to a manageable level while concurrently ensuring that our meetups are complying with the myriad of COVID-19 restrictions presently in place along the Chicago lakefront with respect to organized sports gatherings.

While I am disappointed by this, I am very fortunate in one key area – OWC is merely a social swim group and not at all integral to maintaining my livelihood. I cannot say the same thing about all the various multi-sports events producers and training organizations that rely on athletic participants during the summer and early fall for their respective operating incomes. Many of these businesses are owned by people I have known for years and consider to be good friends. The sad reality is that they have all been absolutely decimated by the COVID-10 fallout, and several are never coming back.

So while you all may have different opinions on the merit of actions taken by various governmental entities during this pandemic, you should at the very least recognize that there are lives and livelihoods that have been permanently altered or even destroyed all in the name of safety and public health.

Whether this turns out to be justified or not in the long term is still under intense debate. But in the meantime, kindly spare me the politics and polemics – especially on the various OWC public platforms.

OWC and its amazing community of swimmers has now entered its 14th year (hard to believe!). During this ongoing adventure, I’ve been a straight shooter to anyone who’s wanted to be part of the Lake Monster tribe, and I’ve never charged anyone a dime to come out and swim with us. So if you disapprove of the OWC philosophy or content (or humor), go find another outlet for open water swimming. Lake Michigan is a big lake with plenty of options – feel free to jump in it on your own terms.

So now that we’ve cleared that plate, let’s talk about swimmin’. As with my last formal swim report in March, I’m combining multiple outings into one posting for brevity/efficiency – but mostly because I have been insanely busy these past few months on a number of personal and professional fronts. So here goes…

June 19 – I managed to sneak out to Lighthouse Beach for a sunrise swim and got lucky with some great lake conditions. I had tried to get in a swim the week before, but the lake had been a bit wavy after some t-storms. However, the wait was well worth it as we had a crisp 61.4F lake with an amazing show to the east:

June 28 – I got antsy and decided to explore some alternate swimming sites in the city as L1 had become Area 51, with the city of Chicago unceremoniously fencing off our world famous swim spot. So I found a secluded spot early in the morning and got in a swim in a wonderfully calm, 63.8F lake:

July 3 – A more lengthy swim at Lighthouse Beach just this morning in a blissful 73F lake:

That’s it for now, folks! I’ll keep posting updates here and on the OWC Facebook site. Bottom line, nothing has really changed from my end other than we’ll likely continue to see a kibosh on group swims. But that shouldn’t stop any of you from getting in your open water fix individually – at least for the short term!

5 Comments

  1. Eleni
    July 27, 2020

    Anyone know if you’re technically allowed to swim off the shore by Belmont harbor going south? I know people don’t swim there usually, but I’m looking for a spot near my apartment in Lakeview. Thanks!

  2. Mario Alvarez
    July 10, 2020

    I’ve been getting swims in at Promontory Point. There are dozens of others there also depending on the time of day.
    Thanks for keeping the inspiration going!
    Mario

    • Steve
      July 16, 2020

      Have never swam down there. Any good tips for parking nearby?

  3. AJ
    July 7, 2020

    I find that it would be beneficial if you posted your workouts (I would really like the Garmin workout) so that I could see where exactly you swam. That would be really helpful context as I try to plan my open swims.

  4. Steve
    July 5, 2020

    Went and took a look at Ohio St. Beach today. Depressing. The lakefront trail is closed there and damaged by the high water levels / salt truck incident, the lockers were left out all winter and are a mess, and not a swimmer in the water. (Of course the beach is technically still closed.)

    Is Lighthouse Beach officially open? Seems like a decent alternative.


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