august 19/SWIM

2.75 miles / 2 full loops + 1 shortened loop
lake nokomis open swim
85 degrees / windy

Yet another windy day at the lake. In past summers, I remember having an occasional windy, choppy swim, but not so many in a row. Tonight’s water seemed the choppiest, swell-iest it’s been. Was it? I think I’m losing perspective. I wonder how tonight’s waves compare to the second summer (2013 or 14) when there was a surprise wind storm and the lake was evacuated–except for the few swimmers, like me, that they didn’t notice. Am I getting used to the waves, or am I exaggerating them? Unsure. Mostly, I like swimming in this rough water.

The second half of the loop, from the little beach back to the big beach and then parallel to the shore until reaching the first orange buoy again was a wild ride. There was bright sun, making it difficult to sight anything, then rough water, crashing against my left side. No gentle rocking, just pushing and shoving, with the occasional slap. I breathed every 4 or 6, almost always on my right side. Once I rounded the final green buoy and reached the swimming area just off the big beach, the waves were behind me, pushing me forward. Sometimes this was pure fun, with the wave doing all the work. Sometimes, it was unsettling, with the water underneath not quite dropping out but feeling like it was sucking all of the energy out of my stroke, like I was hovering (and not floating) in a substance that wasn’t quite water, but wasn’t air either. I wonder if anyone else has a description for this experience? I’ll have to look it up.

Even with all of the rough water, I managed to notice a few planes. Swimming toward the little beach, I suddenly heard a sharp ringing in my ears, just for a minute. I wondered if it was my ear ringing or some sound traveling under water. I felt a lot of vegetation float past me. Usually sharp and scratchy, but once it caressed my foot and leg–a strange, gentle and unwelcome touch. Another time I accidentally grabbed a plant that wasn’t floating free, but was rooted to the lake bottom. How tall was it, I wonder. Anything else? As I was beginning my third loop, I heard the lifeguard calling out for the safety break. This lifeguard had a deep voice and a sense of humor. I laughed when he announced, over the loudspeaker, that the safety break was over. Was it what he said or how he said it? I can’t remember.