Protective Gear for Swimming

"Never let the truth get in the way of a good story"

Some folks have safety concerns about jellyfish, sea lions, and seals in the water. Not me. I fear the other swimmers. On land, we all get along. In the water, all bets are off. Once the caps and goggles go on, they turn into swim terrorists. And not just the Fast Kids.

As the summer months approach and the temperatures warm, more swimmers are drawn to the water. These swimmers have shown up and done so with a vengeance. Over the past few months, we've been hanging out at the club, chatting before our swims, walking down to the beach together, marinating in the water, conversating in the sauna, and even going out for coffee after a swim. But make no mistake, we haven't been swimming together. Why? Fear, and fear alone.

Last Friday, we had three assaults during our morning workout. Our pod jumped in just ahead of a large group of swimmers sniveling on the beach. Some of these swimmers may have even been the infamous Fast Kids. Since their heads were covered in caps and eyes masked with goggles, we could not be certain.

We swam toward the open waters of the San Francisco Bay. Before we made it to the opening, we had our first contact. Our lead swimmer was swum over by an aggressive swimmer. Since it could have been a coincidence, we let it go.

As we made our way along Muni Pier, we passed a pod of 4. They had stopped long enough for us to get ahead of them. A few minutes later, we knew why. They targeted the same swimmer who was run over on the way out of the cove. She bravely held her ground as four of them swam over, through, and alongside her. Shortly after they got ahead of us, they stopped for a second time. We should have seen this one coming, but we didn't. Once again, the same swimmers repeated their assault on our lead swimmer.

Shaken, but not deterred, we kept swimming and completed the Fort Mason round trip.

As we plan for our swim this week, we've come up with a few guidelines to keep things safe:
  1. Strength in numbers. The buddy system matters 
  2. Depart the beach before the large Friday group 
  3. Route: Inside-Outside 
  4. Wear appropriate safety gear. See photo above 

The fast swimmers will swim an outside-outside into a monster 4.7 ebb. As they fight their way into the current along E. Main Street, our group will meet them head-on. We will be swimming with the strong current. The fast-moving waters will drive us through aggressive pods. They can try to stop us, swim through us, or otherwise impede our progress. I dare them.

Game on!


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