Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge Sharks in the Open Water

I figure I’ll spend this first post talking about something outside of school and work since there will be plenty of time for that later. Instead, I’ll share briefly my adventures in open water swimming and where I hope the next year will take me.

I started swimming in the open water (outside of a pool) a couple of years ago. I started in the San Francisco Bay in Aquatic Park just under Ghirardelli Square. In the summer, the water temperature is somewhere around 63 degrees and drops to a balmy 50 degrees in the winter months. I remember that first swim was no more than 700 meters and took an eternity. The entire week leading up to it, I was cold just thinking about it. Once in the water, I could barely breath — partly because I was cold, mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing; I had forgotten how to swim! A couple weeks later, all the lessons I learned on the swim team as a kid started to come back, the speed and distance started to increase too (muscle memory is a hell of a thing).

Aquatic Park with Alcatraz in the background

One of the things that makes Aquatic Park special is the ability to swim to “the opening” of the cove and enjoy the sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge. A friend I swim with put it best, “People come from all over the world to visit these sites like the Golden Gate Bridge and here we are on a Tuesday after work swimming in it like its nothing.” His statement put the magnificence of the experiences on the water into perspective.

The next year of swimming in the cove was pretty uneventful. I eventually switched to swimming in a wetsuit when the water temperature began to drop. There’s kind of this unspoken rift between “skins” and “suits”. The skins like to think they’re tougher, and the suits are pretty indifferent.

Beginning this past summer, swimming inside the cove started losing its luster and I began to branch out. From June 2022 to August 2022, I swam from Alcatraz to the beach 3 times and the length of the Golden Gate Bridge once. The Alcatraz swim is perhaps the most iconic short course swim in the Bay, but my personal favorite is swimming under the Golden Gate Bridge. Most people experience the bridge from its deck, but there is something transcendent about experience the bridge from underneath.

The swim route under the Golden Gate Bridge

One way the prisoners from Alcatraz COULD have escaped
Post GG Bridge swim
Mark and I pre jump on one of our Alcatraz swims

Most of the time we get asked about the sharks. All I know is, there could be some there but I’d rather not think about it.

The next goal on deck is breaking into marathon swimming. Next on my list of wild things to swim is going to be the true width of Lake Tahoe next summer.

Lake Tahoe True Width

Going for distance is my primary goal, but I most just do it for the sunsets and the dopamine

Golden Gardens, Seattle
Also Golden Gardens, with the Seattle Open Water Swimmers Pod

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