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Local Swimmers Recognized by La Jolla Cove Swim Club
By Carol LeBeau
1/4/2013 2:05:26 PM


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Local Swimmers Recognized by La Jolla Cove Swim Club

As one who loves open water swimming I can attest to the fact that La Jolla Cove and the bay between the Cove and La Jolla Shores is one of the best places in the world for ocean swimming.

Making the experience even more enjoyable, hundreds of us water buffs smitten with the breathtakingly beautiful underwater park belong to the iconic La Jolla Cove Swim Club (LJCSC) – an fun outlet for swimmers of all ages, shapes, sizes and skill levels who want to share the joy with others who love open water swimming.

The LJCSC sponsors a variety of both “social” and competitive swim events throughout the year along with several fun-filled “socials…” sans Speedos!    In fact, Club members, both old and new recently gathered at the Bridge Club overlooking our beloved Cove to celebrate the year’s accomplishments of our members.

What a great evening!  It was a rare opportunity to get together in a non-swimming setting to meet one another on “dry land.”   I barely recognized some of my swim pals without goggle marks on their faces and soggy kelp in their hair!

The evening was a celebration of our swimmers’ achievements…everything from individual milestones (swimming to the ¼ buoy for the first time!) to world record premiere marathon swims.

As emcee, it was my honor to interview several Club members about their remarkable 2012 swims.  San Diego’s own “Fantastic 4,” Dave Smith, Barbara Held, Cindy Walsh and Steve Green shared highlights from their sensational swims from Dover, England  to the French Coast – amazing feats, as the English Channel is the swimming equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest!

Fellow Club member, Tom Hecker traveled “down under” and successfully tackled the difficult swim across Cook Strait between the North and South islands of New Zealand.  Having already made several challenging swims around the world, the affable Hecker just shrugged and told us Cook was the last of the marathon swims on his “bucket list.” (I’m not buying it!)

And then there’s Gracie Van Der Byl. San Diego’s “Amazing Grace” set a stunning world record crossing the choppy Catalina Channel in 7:25…the fastest time ever for a woman orman! With characteristic humility, Gracie described her experience conquering the “8 Bridges” Hudson River Swim. In seven consecutive days, Gracie covered a whopping 120 miles in the river.

Looking to the future, 13 year-old Jacee Frivaldo was named Club “child prodigy.  She placed first in several local swim competitions and swam Alcatraz…for the 7th time.  (Go ahead…do the math. Jacee made her first “escape” from Alcatraz when she was only nine!)

San Diego is home to some of the world’s best swimmers.  They are an inspiration.

But also honored were club volunteers and several swimmers with er, rather memorable swim experiences.  Doug Burleigh, Dave Smith and Carol and Bob Adams took home awards for the most encounters with sting rays in 2012.  Ouch!

If you’re a swimmer tired of following the blue line on the bottom of the pool, give the Cove a try.  You won’t find lane lines in La Jolla Cove…only fascinating underwater plant life, neon orange Garibaldi, giant, black sea bass, friendly leopard sharks, awesome bat rays and more.  Start now and you might just win a 2013 personal milestone award for first winter swim!

Sea you at the Cove.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Air Blowers or Paper Towels?
By Carol LeBeau
1/3/2013 2:17:16 PM


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I’m a pretty easy-going “go-with-the flow” kind of person.  Few things truly bug me.

OK.  Maybe a few things.  Drivers who don’t use their turn signals make me a little crazy.   So do people so afraid of being politically incorrect, they refer to Christmas trees as “Holiday Trees.”  (For the record, there is no other winter holiday for which a tree with lights and ornaments is used…except Christmas!)  Oh…and that ridiculous TV commercial touting the benefits of a drug for erectile dysfunction.  You know the one that ends with the couple sitting in separate bathtubs in the middle of nowhere! I go a little nuts every time I see it.

But the thing that really frosts me?  Restroom hand dryers!  The last time I made a visit to the ladies’ room at Nordstrom, one of their new hi-tech, supersonic hand dryers nearly blew my wedding ring right off my finger!  And even with the power of a jet engine, those dryers just take too long. I still had to wipe my hands on my pants to get them completely dry. 

I’m not alone in my disdain for hand dryers.  A recent study found the blowers turn off a lot of folks who would rather dry off with a paper towel. Well, we’ve all been vindicated.  

Mayo Clinic researchers have published a comprehensive study of every known hand-washing study done since 1970.  The authors concluded that drying skin is essential to staving off bacteria and that paper towels are superior to driers:

  • They’re more efficient
  • They don’t spatter germs
  • They won’t dry out hands
  • Most people prefer them (hello!)

With all the new technology in restroom hand driers, you might think blowers are more hygienic that a simple sheet of paper.  It’s just not true.  Environmental concerns are also eradicated by the paper towel.  The study concludes, “electric blowers use more energy than making a paper towel.”

Bottom line – while driers are hands-free, paper towels are faster and less likely to spread germs.

So, next time I’m at Nordstrom, I’m going to politely ask store management if they might consider replacing their mini blast furnaces with simple paper towels.

Anyone care to join me?

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.