Unpredictability Attracted Kirmayer To The Open Water 2009: Physically Grueling

Unpredictability attracted Kirmayer to the open water

A physically grueling and mentally taxing daylong endurance race would be challenge enough for most amateur athletes.
But Kathy Kirmayer, a long-distance open-water swimmer, also contends with rough currents, occasional jellyfish and the threat of hypothermia. “This is what attracted me to these races,” she said. “You can never predict what the conditions are like, so you can’t have these rigorous time goals.” Instead, she focuses on covering the miles — many of them. Kirmayer, a Silver Spring resident, swam the Tampa Bay Marathon last month. Although she was part of a six-person relay team, Kirmayer swam about one-third of the distance across the bay herself. “This was a training swim,” she said of her eight-mile day. Now she has her sights set on crossing the Long Island Sound in August. That event is a 15-mile swim through deep water with strong waves. And water temperature could be another issue since wet suits are not allowed.
“My biggest challenge might not be the distance but hypothermia,” she said.

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