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Hudson River Swim - Event Report

Sunday, July 28, 2013

*Other* people PAY $1.50 to cross the Hudson. I swam across!

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Low 80, light breeze, water was in the mid 70. Very pleasant. Child was in the hands of Grandparents and "Splash in" time was 11:50, so I hung around, had a nice breakfast and then drove 3 miles to the Newburgh Waterfront.

Check in was busy but orderly. At Station 1, we checked in, at station 2, turned in any remaining donations, Station 3, turned in emergency contact form and received swim cap. Station 4 was optional purchasing (clif bars, sunscreen) and bag turn in - they were going to bus our stuff across the River while we were swimming.

I had someone write the name of my sponsors on me:

Yeah, I totally borrowed a page from Nascar and my son's markers.

At 11:40 they called us to gather for the safety briefing. There were a few words said by the organizers and Pete Seeger sang "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "This Land is Your Land." Honestly, I was surprised to see him. His wife, Toshi, who was the second half of his soul, passed away very recently. The swim was her baby and this year's 10th anniversary swim was dedicated to her memory. I thought he would be home still grieving. I choked up a bit at his dedication to local causes.

Anyway, they called us in waves of 50, but no organization by cap color or number or anything like that. Just let 50 at a time through the gate onto the dock. Then someone shouted Go!

The water was pleasantly warm, but recent storms meant there was alot of flotsom in the water. The Hudson is a very silty river and once again, I had mild anxiety staring down into the dark water. I could not even see my HANDS. Seriously, they're like 2 feet away and I dont know where they are. But this is not a race, so I backstroked a fair portion of it. I had fun staring into the clouds and thinking "That one looks like a crab and that one looks like a catcher's mitt and that one looks like...."

About halfway across I really started to question myself. Fortunately the clouds were my distraction and its just a matter of keep going, keep going. Mild chop meant I got several snootfuls of water and I idly wondered why I splashed more with THAT hand than with this hand. I also had a foggy goggle problem. I grabbed onto one of the kayaks and did the Spit thing - but they fogged up again about 20 min later.

Current is also an issue in Hudson vs other open swim locations. You had to angle yourself "just so". The kayakers were on top of giving us directions, but my vision without my glasses is *terrible* so I kept zigging and zagging. On the Beacon side you have to dodge a few boats and the water gets pretty cold from the local streams pouring into the River.




There's a festival going on the Beacon side. Food, TShirts, petitions to end fracking. But we head over to a local diner for some serious salad action. I was not hungry again at dinner and had only a 1/2 PBJ to keep my son company.

This was an untimed event. They use a timing chip program, but its really to make sure that everyone who goes IN the water comes OUT. I have no idea how long it took, other than longer than I expected. Still, an accomplishment for me, and for the people who work to improve the River and reduce pollution everywhere.

The Hudson is a Transportation route for 364 days of the year. But for one shining and glorious day, the Coast Guard hands it back to the people and it is a playground for swimmers who just want to get from HERE to THERE.

In summary, 'twas a lovely event. I recommend it for next year.
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