Cool, green peace: First open-water swim of the season

A swimmer-friend once told me that every open-water swim begins in the same way: With confusion, crankiness and occasionally with a mad scramble of arms and legs during a pack start.

The confusion and crankiness were in full effect as I began my first open-water swim of the season at Moreau Lake last night. Crankiness because it was cold, and because my wetsuit felt tight in all the wrong places (swimmer rule: Your wetsuit always fit better last year. These things shrink a little every winter). Confused because the first buoy was farther away than I remembered, and because I couldn’t remember why I was doing this to begin with.

My mental dialogue for the first 300 meters of the 900-meter loop sounded like this:

Cold. Swim faster to get warm. Still cold. Swim faster. Aaaack. Stupid wetsuit. Too tight. Too fat. Don’t say that to yourself! Too cold. Swim faster. Aaaaack. I can get out after two loops.


Moreau Lake was beautiful last night, my first open-water swim of the year with Saratoga Triathlon Club.

There must be something magical about that first buoy, because every time I pass it—in any swim, anywhere—I feel a beautiful sense of peace come over me. The thoughts bouncing around in my head disappear as quickly as they came. It’s just the rhythm of my arms pulling and the cool, green-blue water.

The wind started to whip up the lake into frothy mini-whitecaps after I swam two loops of the course, but there was no way I was getting out. It was too much fun—not just in spite of the waves, but because of them. In fact, I swam four laps of our triathlon club’s course in the hour-long swim. This is something I’ve only done once before. I wasn’t looking to swim long—I was just having too much fun playing to get out.

“I felt like a hero,” my friend Lisa said after the swim, and I knew exactly what she meant.



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3 responses to “Cool, green peace: First open-water swim of the season

  1. Hey Amy! I finished the Chesapeak Bay Swim yesterday. Thanks for you notes from you 2011 swim, they were very helpful! It was a bit choppy yesterday, but I think the currents were quite mild but still intimidating 🙂

    • Vlad! Congratulations on the finish! I was wondering how you made out yesterday. So happy for you! Give yourself a big pat on the back for me (if you can lift your arms that high 🙂 ). I’ll look forward to hearing all the details sometime soon.

  2. Wonderful explanation of how the uncomfortable becomes bliss.
    Way to go on your first open water swim of the season!

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