Rain and Risk (Day 345)

It was a small crowd for a Sunday 8 o’clock swim at the Albany Bulb; just myself, Rosemary, Caz, Sheila, Angie, and Arwen.

We’ve had a gorgeous abundance of rain in the last twenty-four hours and many swimmers are opting to stay out of the water for a few more days. This question of how much rain is too much rain and how long to wait is perplexing. I took a deep dive into this question last year and, ultimately concluded there is no clear answer. Aside from the times when there is a deluge and they release partially treated wastewater in the bay like they did last fall, it’s all guesswork and personal risk tolerance.

For me, I stayed away after the first big rain last week. It had been so long without any that I shuddered to think about all the gunk that was washing onto the streets and into the gutters and into the bay. Surely plenty of that gunk (trash and oil and pesticides and animal waste and worse) was also washing into the gutters and into the bay as the rain came down last night. But, I’m hoping it wasn’t so much as to make me sick. In places where it rains a lot (England, Ireland, British Columbia), they seem to mostly stay out of their wild swimming spots after the first rains; after that, they go on swimming in the rain. 

In any case, it was a beautiful swim. The rain cleared and bright blue sky contrasted with fluffy, stretched-out cotton clouds. The water was a cool 51 degrees. It was the first time Angie, Sheila, Arwen, and I had swum all together since October and so there was a fair bit of chatting. But I also did some good swimming; I felt strong and healthy, like the energy of the cold water was seeping through my pores and revving me up.

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