After the coaches stroke practice, Terry invited us all down to the beach for a group swim. The group ended up starting where the large life guard tower is and terry started about a 1/2 mile further upthe shore. Dave let the lifeguards know where we would be swimming and they came down to the water and pointed out where the riptides were. he was totally cool with us gong out there to swim, and calmly explained what to do if we got caught in the riptide. Dave had taken some channel swimmers to the same beach last week, so the lifeguards knew Dave and knew that we weren’t yahoos.
Myself & 2 others had wetsuits…something that I would later regret! 2 of the women went without the wetsuits. We used the buddy system in a group of 2 and a group of 3 and headed out to he red buoy past some pretty big, powerful breaking waves. The lifeguard described the surf as “moderate”. It was actualy pretty tough getting past them and once we did, we continued to rise up and down a fair amount on the rising and falling water before the waves started to break. We swam for about 15 mintues south to the Coronado Hotel area when one of our swimmers got pulled towards shore by a big wave and was unable to get back out towards us. The waves in that area had simply gotten too big and powerful. She headed towards shore. Once we made sure she was OK, we continued swimming back towards the guard tower. By this time the guys had passed us and were on their way back, and who should come along in his yellow swim cap, but Terry. Hi Terry…fancy meeting you out here int eh middle of the ocean! He was swimming along with his peaceful, non-sighting stroke when an enormous wave started to build that looked like it was going to break right where we were. I ducked under just as I saw it cresting, then immediately looked to see where Terry was. He had finally stopped swimming and looked around…I guess the wave got his attention, it would be hard for it not to.
When I say these were big waves, I mean this were really big for a girl from Pittsburgh. At one point we were lifted up to the top of a wave before it broke and were looking straight down the face of the wave, and I swear it was like looking down two flights of stairs at least. It was totally freaky! As long as we were out far enough from shore, it wasn’t too bad and I was actualy fairly nervous about getting back into shore. We continued to swim up towards the guard tower, up towards the rip current and finally headed in. While the waves there were powerful, they seemed to be only half the size if the ones further south.
Getting out of the water actually felt warm. The water temp was 59 and the air temp was 58, but I didn’t feel chilled at all, at least not rig then. However as i walked to the showers which seemed to be a mile away and then tried to undress, wash the redress myself, I felt quite uncoordinated…possibly an early sign of hypothermia, but aside from noticing trouble with dexterity overall I felt fine and glad to be out of the water…it was a little pushy for me, but I’d do it a gain tomorrow evening without hesitation and only one change…I wouldn’t wear a wetsuit.
My wetsuit ended up causing some pretty significant chafing around my neck and my arms just in front of my axilla (armpit). In addition, while the buoyancy of the suit was comforting, it really interfered with my swim stroke. For brief moments of 2-3 strokes I felt like I did in the pool, but the wave motion pushing my back and forth tended to make me roll much further with the added buoyancy. It was actually impossible for me to use my legs for a two beat kick due to the stuffiness of the suit and the buoyancy preventing me from getting any significant purchase in the water with my legs.
All in all a great swim and a great ending to a good day. Around lunchtime I simply felt like I’d been washed with a total sense of satisfaction at being here. I can only imagine that it will continue to be this way, that the stress of my regular life in pittsburgh will continue to be melted away by the Mexican sun (OK, San Diego) and that a continued 8 hours of sleep each night will have me feeling more optimistic and energetic with each day.