Once upon a time in the 1980s, I became a member of an amazing cold-water swimming club on San Francisco Bay: The South End Rowing Club. I still had dark hair (okay, I still had HAIR) and a lot more stamina. Some of my most memorable moments were the three times that I swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco and the one time that I swam The Gate.
Cold water swimming isn’t for everybody, and among the Bay swimmers, it’s definitely frowned upon to wear more than a Speedo and an insulated cap. I did love the rush of adrenalin that hit me as the cold water shock knocked the air out of my chest, even if the competitive spirit of the group swims was a little much for me.
So it gave me a bit of nostalgia when U.B. suggested that we all dunk into the water on New Year’s Day as part of an annual event staged by our swim club in Barcelona, the Club de Natació Atlétic de Barceloneta. The sun was warm, the crowd was enthusiastic, and even if the water was chilly, the coldest day in the Mediterranean is warmer than the hottest day in San Francisco Bay!
It was a lot like JAWS, but in with the people running the wrong direction!
We lived to tell the tale, as did, I’m sure, people in Copenhagen and Helsinki!