|Don Macdonald Kayak's alongside Doug McConnell here pictured in the middle of the pacific ocean between Catalina Island and mainland California in 2013.|
With Doug's swim, the third leg of the Triple Crown bearing down in several weeks, we have been focused on extending training time in open water. While Doug has the Yeoman's work in the water this time, Im in the kayak again, and support crew in the boat. Both exposed to the weather (what ever condition it is) for 9-10 hours.
The biggest concern we have for Doug is safety. The rivers around New York Harbor are very congested and dangerous with large ocean going ships, ferries - docking, embarking at all hours. These ships also generate sizable waves that multiply both in height and length bouncing off sea walls causing both kayaker and swimmer tremendous stress to stay on course.
The other challenge are the piers. These are not your standard piers but large loading docks, commercial businesses extending into the river sometimes 100 plus yards disrupting the flow of water, swirling ebbs, causing the kayaker and swimmer direction problems and immediate danger from a collision.
"There's no room for error, the current never stops and at 2-4 MPH, you will get dragged into a pier pole, debris, or ship very easily", said Don Macdonald who recently went on a test run while in New York.
As a marathon swimmer myself, I know its essential for me to remain focused on all aspects of Doug's safety but not outwardly show the slightest change in my tempo, direction and even mood as things happen. And they always do.
As these swims progress, its not uncommon for swimmers to become depressed from the solitude of the effort coupled with the physical exhaustion. As the reach 6-8 hours mark, the swimmer hits "the wall" both physically and mentally. The slightest perception of stress can be detected from the swimmer, stress from changes to direction, hitting some debris floating in the water, swallowing some polluted water ... can weigh heavily on the swimmers mental outlook.
For both of us, this will be another test of resilience, forged in the desire of pushing oneself to help others.
|Sometimes your simply alone|
Article Reprinted from Sun Times