Every year, about this time, the Save The Bay swim event happens. It is an amazing spectacle of open water swimming combined with a dedicated organization intent on saving our most precious Narragansett Bay for the present and future of Rhode Island. I was lucky enough to finish it two years, 2009 and 2010. I love open water swimming. In fact, I prefer open water swimming to lap swimming in an indoor pool. Open water swimming is not just about fitness, its about connecting with nature – the ocean, lake or bay you are swimming in. The scenery of the coastline, the boats off in the distance, the marine life, the smell of the salt water, the sun glistening on the water – all of these make swimming in open water so enjoyable for me. Don’t get me wrong, lap swimming is great for training purposes as well as convenience. You have no waves to contend with, the water is crystal clear in most pools so you can clearly see where you are swimming to, and there is no sand, seaweed, or biting marine animals to deal with. All great points, but I still prefer open water swimming.
For Father’s Day this year, I got a great gift that allows me to combine the benefits of a pool with my love of swimming in open water. A swim tether, a device which allows me to swim in my above ground pool without having to stop at each end of the pool to flip around to swim to the other end of the pool. If you are used to swimming in pools at a YMCA or recreation center, the pool lengths are typically 25 yards or meters and can be as long as 50 meters. This gives the swimmer a long lane of uninterrupted swimming. Most above ground pools, like mine, don’t come anywhere near this length, so if you are an average to above average swimmer, getting a swim workout can be tough. This swim tether keeps me in place and allows me to swim without interruption. I can still use my legs to kick, like a normal swim session. The swim tether is a great way to get a fantastic swim workout, even in an above ground pool.
Here is how it works. There are various models on the market, including ones that strap onto your feet and others that work off of a waist belt. My swim tether is the foot strap model. Each strap has padding and a Velcro strip to attach to two places on your lower leg. There are straps for your left and right lower leg. There is a clip that extends outward and should be facing down when the strap is put on correctly. Next, the swim tether, or cord, is designed to go around an immovable object such as a cemented post or beam near the pool. I wrap mine around one of the secure deck posts and make sure there is equal length of the tether on the left and right sides. Then, I attach the swim tether to the left and right ankle straps via the clips.
Then, get your goggles on, pop in your earplugs, and off you swim. The tether keeps you in place while you swim. I can honestly say that is doesn’t inhibit me one bit from my normal stroke. I can swim freestyle, backstroke, even breaststroke with the swim tether attached. When I am done with an interval or set, I simply stand up. When I am ready for my next set, I get right into my swimming motion without hesitation. The swim tether is a great device for the busy parent or professional who can’t get to the gym, or the ocean to workout. My swim tether is a gift I will use for years to come. Thanks everyone!!!
The 40th Annual Save the Bay Swim is taking place Saturday, August 13, 2016. The first wave, or more specifically the Fred Bartlett, Elizabeth Beisel, Michael Phelps types , start at 9:15 am. All others, like myself in 2009 and 2010, jump into Narragansett Bay shortly after. This year’s swim features about 500 swimmers and nearly 200 kayakers attempting to finish the course from the Newport Navy Base, Newport to Potter Cove, Jamestown. Even if you are not participating as a swimmer, kayaker, or spotter, you can still contribute to the Save the Bay cause. Log onto www.savebay.org to learn how you can contribute to saving our Narragansett Bay for future generations of swimmers, vacationers, and residents of Rhode Island.