Swim Practice

There's an event in which I have always wanted to participate. The Webster Cross Channel Swim occurs here every year on Labor Day at the Columbia River. I've always secretly wanted to go but didn't feel capable. This year, my fiftieth year on the planet, I've been swimming laps twice a week in a pool as part of a fitness routine. I am in the best condition as a swimmer that I have ever been or ever will be so I figured it was time to take the plunge.

I am confident in my ability to swim 1.1 mile, but do feel the need to try out swimming that distance in a wet suit (necessary because of the temperature of the water) and to practice swimming in open water with a very distant target. I decided a good practice place would be the beautiful mountain lake that we love to visit every summer for supper picnics. Lost Lake is nestled on the north west side of Mount Hood. It has cold pristine waters. My son, Kris, loaned me his ocean surfing wet suit, and we put together a cooler of food for dinner.

I picked a target point across the lake, at an angle so that the distance would be longer and I set out. Kris and his friend Andrea shadowed me in a canoe, so no, I was not crossing the lake alone. The swim was extremely awkward at first. The wet suit made me so buoyant that I had difficulty keeping my head and shoulders low in the water and my feet kept popping out too. The cold water made me involuntarily hold my breath so I had trouble regulating my breathing. I'm so glad I tried this out before the actual channel swim!

I finally got it together and made progress across the lake. By the return trip I had found my rhythm and my mind was in the zone so that I didn't think about the dark depths below me. I loved swimming in the clean water, so different from the chlorinated pool. The only thing better would be swimming like this in some warm tropical ocean water.

After the swim I was ready to eat. Our picnic supper of garden salads and curried chicken sandwiches on olive bread was accompanied by a nice rose prosecco my son, the wine connoisseur, procured for us.

What's an evening at the lake without a stone skipping session?

I think I'll try this lake swim at least one more time before the morning of the channel crossing.