My team of 5 crossed the 16 mile (25 kilometer) stretch of water from Port Jefferson, NY to Bridgeport, CT in 8 hours, 24 minutes and 53 seconds.
We finished 5th in University Challenge, and 21st overall (in a field of 45 or 48). More excitingly, I survived, despite NO training WHATSOEVER in the last few months, and avoided uncomfortable encounters with marine life!
Apparently I swam right next to a whopper of a jellyfish, but didn't see any while in the water. From the safety of the boat, I saw several - they tend to clump together in little patches. One large colony in particular was sort of trapped in this lovely seaweed/lobster trap/trash swirl out in the middle of nowhere. One of the guys on our team swam STRAIGHT through it (thankfully, he was fast so the pain was brief!!) After that, we told him to swim directly behind the boat (most people like to swim slightly to the side) to avoid swimming through stagnant clumps of seaweed/trash/jellies and whatever else was floating around.
I think its the mental fear that's exponentially worse than the sting. I told everyone NOT to warn me about impending jellies unless they were absolutely enormous (like, bigger than me) or had a little sign on them saying "Adrien or Bust". I would rather just swim on/over/through them and have the whole process done and gone by the time I feel the sting. Knowing and projecting something slimy and painful in the water in front of you is a panic attack waiting to happen. That being said, I swam behind the boat and avoided whatever was waiting for me out there.
I spent most of the summer thus far working or traveling (and subsequently working too) and NOT in the water. So my contribution to the 5 person relay across the 16 mile stretch was minimal. But I certainly enjoyed the process immensely. This was my 3rd crossing of the Sound with the Swim Across the Sound relay, and by far the most fun and exciting. I was recruited at the last minute for a University of Connecticut student/alumni team for the 1st (of which I hope there will be more!!) SAS University Challenge. There were I think 7 or 8 university teams: Several from Fairfield U - student varsity and alum (and Fairfield Prep, which really shouldn't count, since they are technically still in high school, even if it's right next door to the university), Dartmouth alum "and friends" (which was a kick ass team, since they had 2 highly experienced marathon swimmers), Springfield U (several large, muscled guys who obviously swim very well).... And the best - UCONN!!
We had 2 alum (me and one woman who was also a professor at the medical school), 3 students (very fast swimmers - ah.... to be young(er) and in good shape!), and our boat captain and wife were ALSO alums!!! Our boat was decorated with UConn flags and banners, and everyone who passed by on the water (including several coast guards and police boats) cheered "UCONN! HUSKIES!" It was the first time I was psyched to be a Husky - and the first (unofficial) UCONN sporting event I was psyched to be at. Next year I hope to recruit another UCONN team, and we have already solicited the boat captain, his awesome wife and magnificent sail boat for University Challenge part 2.
Now, time to get back in the pool and train!!