In case you haven’t heard, Maryland has been getting some ridiculous weather lately — and all that rain washed a whole lot of nasty stuff into the Chesapeake Bay. So the open-water swim I was supposed to do was moved to a pool in north Baltimore.
They had the outdoor pool(s) set up with about 20 lanes of varying lengths. They sent an email Friday assigning everyone to staggered waves (mine was supposed to start at 12:15), but it ended up being kind of a free-for-all. When I got there a little before noon, one of the volunteers just told me to find a lane and jump in.
I had Toby time for me and help me count. But I wasn’t sure exactly how many lengths* I needed to swim — I had been doing 64 lengths. So I asked the kid sitting on the starting block of my lane, and he said, “70. Well, actually 66.”
So I told Toby 66 and I started swimming.
Toby came over while I was swimming and talked to the man who was handing out towels to the swimmers who had finished. He was also cheering me on and taking these photos.
I did have to stop once, briefly, to get the water out of my goggles. Otherwise, I swam 64 lengths and then did the last two as fast as I could. When I stopped, Toby said, “You have to do 70.”
When I finished all 70 lengths, Toby said my time was 31 minutes. Not bad (although I do think I can do better). And the event raised more than $400,000 for cancer research at Johns Hopkins. Definitely a win.
*I am using “lengths” because apparently there is some confusion about what constitutes a “lap.” I was always taught that a lap is two lengths — up and back. But apparently some swimmers call one length a lap. I don’t know which is right or why the difference in terminology exists, but I will try to use the least confusing terminology possible.