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English Channel 2017

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Bob Burrow

Seven days and counting until my window opens for the English Channel~September 12th-19th.  At this point the hay is in the barn and its a matter of getting rest, eating right and not injuring myself in some way.

There is a ton to write about the English Channel journey the people and experience. That will come in due time. Today however in swim practice I was thinking about the variety of different training venues I have frequented the most in and around Boston.

First up, are the pools.  I guess one would have to say that MIT’s Z-Center is my home pool. It is a fabulous indoor 50m by 25yard. I have been swimming there for nearly 13 years under the watchful eye of Coach Bill. I spent a lot of time in this pool training for the Channel. In the winter swimming short course and in the late spring and summer swimming long course.  Arguably, the nicest pool in New England.

The Wayland Community Pool has also become a favorite over the course of the last year. It’s a 25 yard indoor pool with a bubble.  The spring and summer is awesome swimming outdoors with the bubble off-love it!  Coach Jen serves up a well thought out tough workout every practice with spot on pointers and tips.  The other swimmers are great and it has been really fun getting to know them.

I often wonder, would I rather swim in a great indoor 50 meter pool on a regular basis or in a 25 yard outdoor pool? With these two pools it’s a tough call.

Of course, you can’t train to swim the English Channel only in a swimming pool as that would be like training for the Boston Marathon on a treadmill. It doesn’t work. The journey has led me to several open water venues that I am sure I will continue to frequent.

High on the list where I spent a lot of local outdoor swimming time was the L Street Bath House in Southie.  It was founded in 1931on Dorchester Bay providing recreational facilities for Boston’s working people during the Depression. Today, it is a recreational facility managed by the city serving the local area and Boston open water swimmers.  It has great views of the Bay, the Harbor Islands and the JFK Library.  I have totally enjoyed observing and getting to know the characters that hang out there and make the the Bath House. The highlight was definitely the first day I swam there, it was pretty cold out and I swam for over an hour and Scotty that works the front desk was so impressed that he gave be a L Street Brownies sticker.

(it ok to shower in the nude though-😉)

Nahant Beach just north of Logan Airport is another swimming area that I enjoyed getting to know. It is a long, long beach jutting out from the Boston Harbor to the Atlantic.  I had a couple really good training swims there over the course of the summer. The most memorable being a four hour training swim with Tommy that turned out to be a six hour swim. That was a big confidence boost that day.  It’s a really long way from one end of the beach to the other~or at least it feels that way.

There was only one fresh water swimming hole and that was Lake Cochituate in Wayland.  To shake things up every once in awhile and to avoid a drive into Boston to swim at L Street or Nahant I would head to the lake.  It’s a big lake close to home where the Wayland/Weston crew team practices. Most memorable was in late spring when I out there swimming by myself when one of Courtney’s friends hit me with an oar from their two man shell.  It certainly woke me up from my swimming day dream!

It has been a ton of fun swimming in new places with new people in and around Boston!

The final preparations of packing are taking place and we are ready to fly to England to get this party started.

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