It has been SO awesome to be back in Flathead Lake. Our swims have been short so far, nothing over a mile yet, but I get such a wonderful calm while swimming in open water that makes swimming even more enjoyable then when I'm at the pool. As Flathead Lake starts to "fill" back up...the water that fills it is the run off from the melting snow in the mountains....which, as you can imagine, is cold. Last week one of our regular swim spots in Flathead Lake (Somers swim access) was pretty shallow and down right warm (for this time of year)....but this week that same location is a bit colder as the water is coming up (today's swim left me and my swimming partner with numb tongues and COLD teeth).
While I am longing for some longer outdoor training swims, one special part of the shorter swims is that I can include my dogs in my workouts. So far this year I've only taken my yellow Labrador Mason to workout. Mason is all business when it comes to swim practice and he is a VERY good "team" dog. He wears a doggy life jacket (just to be safe) and swims with a long fetch toy in his mouth and when the swimmers are trucking along in a "v" formation, he is right in the middle of our "v" keeping up with the pace with ease. Mason doesn't bother other swimmers, aside from the occasional "cut off." Mason likes to check out the shores of islands we come upon during our workout, but he usually hopes right back in to catch up if we pull too far away. Mason swims up to a mile and a half (but to be honest he would probably swim further if given the opportunity). Once we get to shore after our workout, he's rewarded for a job well done with some swimming fetch with his favorite toy (because swimming a mile isn't enough!). :)
My black lab, Dixie Doodle, also LOVES to swim, however, her "etiquette" is not as refined as Mason's. Because Dixie likes to try and climb on others while swimming, she still needs a bit more training before I would consider her a good "team" dog. I do take Dixie on some swims with just me, but I usually come away with quite a few scratches on my arms/back!
It's so awesome to share swimming with my dogs (and to watch them love it as much as I do)...but at the end of the day, I think I am most thankful that swim practice ABSOLUTELY wipes out Mister Mason, who is also known as "the-dog-who-rarely-tires."
Happy swimming (and happy sleeping)!