Golden Gate Bridge to Aquatic Park Swim

Sunrise at Hyde St. PierWe had a great swim last Saturday morning on the flood current. After a little dancing on the boat, four of us jumped off the Dauntless about a half-mile east of the Golden Gate Bridge. The current wasn’t that strong, but there were big waves right by the bridge so we jumped parallel to the warming hut.

The moon was setting and there was a beautiful sunrise coming up and the colors in the sky were spectacular. The sun was glinting off the water in a dazzling way, making it a little tricky to navigate but our pilot Bill was guiding us with the kayak and the Dauntless was tracking us in close proximity. I wore the wetsuit so I could swim for a long time. The water felt really comfortable, probably around 52°F.

Swimming along Chrissy Field seem to take forever. The dome of the Palace of Fine Arts looked so far away each time I sighted. Then I remembered that I should enjoy the journey and not get caught up in the destination.

When I got near the stone wall of the Yacht Club  I tried to stay away from there because of the back eddies that Coach Pedro warned us about. I realized I was on the inside of the buoys and not the outside, which would have been better. A couple of other swimmers took a faster ride farther out in the bay. I was being conservative by being closer to shore, therefore slower. Being farther out requires better navigation skills, speed and timing to get to the narrow opening of Aquatic Park on time. If you are slow you can still manage if you are a good navigator with a feel for the water. Every swim in the bay is different and good practice for a variety of conditions.

Once we got to Fort Mason, we used the masts of the Balclutha as a guide to get to Aquatic Park. Sometimes the water is faster by the opening and you have to rush to get into the cove. But it was so easy we just glided right in like an airplane coming in for a landing. Once inside the cove, a great feeling of accomplishment and enjoyment of the swim.  It was about 2.5 miles distance but it took just a little over an hour. I would say that is almost twice the speed I normally swim, thanks to the current. I wasn’t racing, just trying to pace myself for a longer swim and save some energy for the end in case I had to sprint. Looking forward to the next long swim!


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