Never Leave a Woman Behind

So excited! So nervous to be doing the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim on January 2nd!

The Frogman Swim is a 5km race across a stretch of Tampa Bay that started off in Jan 2010 as a fund raiser for a wounded Navy Seal. In 2011, the swimmers will be raising money for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, which helps the families of wounded or fallen Navy Seals.

The water temperature for the 2010 event was 58 degrees, and it doesn’t look like warming up at all for the 2011 swim. I’m planning on swimming sans wetsuit, a decision made easy by the fact that I’d have to lose about 10lbs to fit into my wettie (I own one, but I never wear it so it’s ok). After already being stuck in an 82 degree pool for 2 months, and with no opportunity to acclimatise myself except for having a cold bath, I’m nervous.

Fortunately, I’ve been assured by the race director that every swimmer has their own personal escort for the swim. I’m already having fantasies about being surrounded by Navy Seals, and am pretty sure I’m getting a whole unit as my escort. Here’s an action shot of them practicing our mid-swim stealth hot chocolate feeding:


Navy helicopters chock full of Seals will be standing by in case I get too cold and need rescue:


Anyone trying to draft in my wake will experience unexplained warm currents, but will also have these guys to contend with:


Here’s hoping my body remembers my cold swims from September and October and I’ll make it! I’ll be wearing my new swimsuit, so I’ll be stylish no matter what the outcome. So stylish, in fact, that I’m a bit worried I’ll be bombarded by affectionate Seals at the finish line and will be too exhausted to take my daughter to Harry Potter Land after the race……


Seriously, though, if I don’t raise some more money for this worthy cause, my crew may well consist of


To donate to the Naval Special Warfare Foundation in my name, please go to:

Neoprene Dreams

Thank you to all who supported me for the Frogman swim. I ended up raising about $250 for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation. Better than expected!!

The swim itself didn’t go as expected, but then, what ever does?

I tried on a loaner wetsuit from my friend Dani the night before the swim and was surprised by how easily it went on and how comfortable and stretchy the material was. The wetsuit I have at home is a few years old (I wore it somewhat successfully in IM Wisconsin 07), but is made of what feels like cast iron and is very thick. Although I’d previously decided to go naked, I was very easily persuaded to give the newer wetsuit a try the next morning.

The water was 62 at the starting point, which felt like a warm bath compared to those horrible cold baths I’d been having for a few weeks. I believe the water was low 50’s in the middle of the course and warmed up a little towards the finish. Cold. Definitely doable without neoprene, but chilly.

It wasn’t to be, though. I just couldn’t breathe. Every time I turned onto my stomach to swim I felt like I was being garroted. Hyperventilating, I’d turn on my back and scull for a while then try again. Same thing. Over and over. Deep breathing, relaxing, laughing. Nothing worked! I ended up feeling a little lightheaded.

I’m not superstitious, but the whole thing might have been because I wasn’t wearing my CIBBOWS cap. We were given rather nice colour coded silicon caps to wear according to our wave. Some would say the RobAquatics suit I was wearing had a curse (blessing??) and can’t abide being touched by neoprene. Of course it may just be that, as one should train in the cold to swim in the cold, one should also train in a wetsuit to swim in a wetsuit 


Anyway……eventually all the other swimmers were out of sight so I took off the wetsuit, handed it to my nice but bewildered young kayakers and had a nice swim back to the start. I think I swam a total of 500 yds in 50 minutes. I was relieved to find Ron Collins and his wife Rebecca at the start and hitched a ride with them to the finish point. I believe Ron took a wrong turn and was separated from his kayaker. This made me feel like slightly less of a loser. Hehe, actually it was worth mucking up the swim just to meet them.

Aside from meeting the Collinses, something else of value was gained from this swim.

While swimming back to the start, I designed a new line of wetsuits which I believe will eliminate the choking, claustrophobic attack I experienced. I’m currently in negotiations with Butterick Patterns to sell them my designs. I think my designs speak for themselves.

The Cowl Neck, Bootleg
The Plunging V-Neck
The Pleasant Peasant
The Dirndl

And my personal favourite…

The Bibless Brace

To conclude: the Frogman swim was really a lot of fun. It was probably the best supported swim I’ve ever done. Great cause. Great organisation. I would love to do it again next year. It’s really not mandatory to wear a wetsuit, as long as you let the organisers know beforehand (I had). A very fun day!

Here’s the website.