Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back To The Bay

Almost two weeks after my first swim in San Francisco Bay, I came back for one more. Again, I was able to use the facilities at the Dolphins Club. It was another sunny day, though not as hot as it had been a fortnight ago. The water had also cooled down, and, for the first time this year, I wished that I'd worn a swim cap. Actually, many of the local swimmers were wearing thick, helmet-like, insulated swim caps (e.g. http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/2329.htm). I looked for the water temperature on the club board, but it hadn't been posted. Later, I found out the water was 58 degrees Fahrenheit (or 14.5 Celsius). It certainly felt a bit chilly.

I swam along the marker buoys between the pier and the breakwater. I'm told that it is a quarter of a mile, so I must have swum half a mile altogether. Later, I spent a bit of time (but not too much) floating on my back, looking at the views. I was very grateful for a hot shower, and even more so for the sauna. Actually, that must be the only occasion that I've stood shivering inside a sauna. I soon warmed up, but I came away wondering how I would ever be able to think of myself as a winter swimmer again.


San Francisco Bay Swimming Clubs


There are two swimming clubs situated at Aquatic Park. Both date back to the late nineteenth century, and incorporate rowing clubs as well. Many members of the clubs swim throughout the year. Water temperatures range from 16 degrees C in September to 10 degrees C in January (that's real winter swimming).


The clubs are open to the public on alternate days, excluding Sundays and Mondays. The club that I used for both my swims was the Dolphins Club ( http://www.dolphinclub.org/ ). It' s in a fantastic old wooden building, with marvellous views from the windows of the club rooms. 


There is a friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the club, and it's a great place to sit around after a swim.


Swimming in the Bay is not without its hazards according to this sign at the club.


The other swimming (and rowing) club is the South End Club ( http://www.south-end.org/swimming.shtml ). I'd hoped to swim from this club for my second swim in the Bay, but I was here on the wrong day.

Goodbye To San Francisco


I took this photo just a couple of hours before I flew back to Sydney. I couldn't swim at this beach (at Crissy Field) because I'd already packed my speedos. But I did have a somewhat chilly paddle.

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