Night swimming

So we’re having another night swim this week in Dungarvan, principally for the Stiletto Swimmers, the Dungarvan’s Ladies Channel Relay Team. I’m tagging along, because I LOVE NIGHT SWIMMING.

My first experience of it was few years ago at Sandy Cove, organised, as always, by John Conroy of Cork Masters.

And, of course, we had it in the Channel. I had two swims the first night and the one approaching dawn swimming into the Cap and as Amy finished the last fractional leg swimming into St. Margaret’s in the dusk, I swam in behind her (there’s no swimming with Amy, she’s too fast).

During my second night hour, sometime around 3 am, I just stopped swimming to hoot at the top of my voice, to articulate much I was enjoying it. It remains one of my favourite swimming memories. My words on emerging from the sea were, “I’m hungry and horny”, buoyed up by the experience.

Night swimming contains some of the best things about swimming, leaving you to focus on your stroke and the glide and the inside of your own head. It’s a contemplative Zen-like activity when it goes well. (And night-water is usually a bit calmer as winds drops a bit at night.)

And, if it’s later in the summer, and you are not too shallow, there is marine phosphorescence.

Watching your hands elicit the dull green fireworks of bio-luminescence and the splashing green flames coruscating in the whorls of water from your fingertips is hypnotic and captivating.

To be mid-Channel, swimming strongly, with the sparkle of ships in the lanes, and the searchlight of the Pilot stabbing toward you, aah, I can only recommend it.

Do not try “to get through it”. Embrace it.

(But get yourself a night stick).

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