There has been an interesting sighting reported on Lake Wylie this year. This is in addition to Tega Cay gators, imported Asian carp, giant catfish and marauding snakefish. Since the beginning of April early weekend risers and weekday post-commute boaters have reported seeing a dark object in the water adjacent to a blue 2 man kayak.
After 3 months of curious looks on shore and quizzical expressions from boaters and fishermen, I think introductions are in order. That dark object is a man in a wetsuit – me, and the kayakers my support team. Collectively we were training for the July 24th 5.25 mile Maggie Fischer Memorial Cross Bay Swim.
The Cross Bay Swim, held more-or-less annually on the south shore of Long Island, New York since the early 1900s, is an open-water race across a 5.25 mile stretch of the Great South Bay benefiting the Hospice Care Network Children’s and Family Bereavement Program. The race is named for a young area lifeguard who passed away shortly before being able to compete in the Cross Bay Swim. The competition is a testament to her compassion and memory.
The starting point of the swim is on Long Island’s famed Fire Island National Seashore barrier beaches, just steps away from the iconic lighthouse. The nearby Fire Island inlet will be at flood tide at the 7am starting gun, giving the mighty Atlantic Ocean a strong voice early in the competition. After tacking through shoals, support boats, and buoys, the swim ends at an indistinguishable spec on the horizon, Gilbert Park in Brightwaters.
Some of the competitors are past swimming champions. Others are family teams. Some competitors are very experienced having competed over decades. Others, like me are brand new to the sport.
Preparing and competing in the Cross Bay swim has been an incredible voyage. I look forward to sharing what went into the preparations, my observations, and lessons learned over the next several posts. Keep reading!