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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Discipline Enables Bridgette Hobart To Meet Demands

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Bridgette Hobart Janesczko has successfully completed the longest 5 crossings of her The 5 Majors & The 4 Minors Swimming for a Cause event in the New York Finger Lakes.

Her 5 swims have been long, difficult and thoroughly taxing:

Stage 1 - Canandaigua 15.5 miles in 7 hours 38 minutes on July 11th
Stage 2 - Keuka 19.88 miles in 9 hours 7 minutes on July 18th
Stage 3 - Skaneateles 16.03 miles in 7 hours 27 minutes on July 26th
Stage 4 - Cayuga 37.9 miles in 20 hours 33 minutes on August 7th-9th
Stage 5 - Seneca 37.9 miles in 24 hours 31 minutes on August 28th-30th

She has four more swims, albeit shorter, in The Minors: Otisco at 6.21 miles, Owasco at 10.56 miles, Hemlock at 7.45 miles, and Conesus at 8.07 miles to complete the 9-stage swim charity event.

But swimming such long distances week after week, especially for a 52-year-old and a working professional at that, places not only a tremendous toll on her body, but also places significant other demands on her time, from logistics to media interviews.

She explains how she recovers from her swims as she is preparing for her upcoming ones. "Between my swims, I just do recovery swims and Pilates to stay loose. I find at my age I need to keep my body moving of sorts…recovery swims though are really just 1500-2000 yards easy, long pace a day.

However, after the Cayuga swim (of 20 hours 33 minutes), I gave my shoulders a break for a few days, Now [after the 24 hour 31 minute swim across Seneca], I plan to give them a solid break until Monday - or full week. Otherwise, my energy level has bounced back quickly and I think working full time helps that because my body doesn’t have a choice.

We’re super busy at work now so I’m averaging about 50-60 hour work weeks between these swims and only taking days off for travel to the lakes. This type of schedule works well for me because I’m really used to it and find it keeps me focused and disciplined, so I prefer it. I did require a nap on Sunday though, and that was a first. [The nap] had me a bit worried to what Monday would bring, but Monday I woke feeling back to normal and was relieved. I went back to work Tuesday.

I’m also in final planning for our annual Lake Hopatcong Open Water Swim Festival [of which she is the race director] on September 13th so that is also a big focus now.

I’ve been fine with the media as they’ve been very respectful of my work schedule. I’ve mostly handled via email, calls at night or while traveling. [Husband] Bob [Janesczko] drives so I can get a lot done on just the commutes to the lake with phone and mobile wifi

As the race director for the Lake Hopatcong Open Water Swim Festival, Hobart knows not only how to get things done, but how to get others to help her along. "I haven’t stressed on the planning and all has worked well. Family friends handled all the Canandaigua crossing for me. I just showed up and swam and that was awesome.

Keuka was the hardest because I found myself with guest swimmers and making all their plans, along with a heavy work schedule. From that I learned I just need to realize I can’t become a race director during this, so lesson learned. That same lake required 3 boat rentals as I couldn’t even bring my own over due to the classic boat show, but we all managed and buddies stepped up to help

Because her charity event, The 5 Majors & The 4 Minors Swimming for a Cause, has generated local interest, the community support she has received has been significant. "Skaneateles was planned by my Nazareth College buddies Belinda Stayton and Linda. That is Belinda’s lake and we used her boat. My boat is on Seneca so we used that for Cayuga and Seneca and my parents hosted us for Keuka, Cayuga and Seneca. Belinda for Skaneateles and the other upcoming Syracuse lakes. We’ve on stayed at a B&B once so far, which was very cool.

My Naz buddies, family and friends as well as new friends we’ve met along the way have just grown our support network, and that really has been a more amazing feeling then finishing the lake itself. My Naz roomie took charge as crew chief and she is incredibly organized, knows the area, and being in the school district has available time during the summer. She’s been a lifesaver to me.

Bob is also my kayak escort and we do it all together, so that is great feeling and he gives me security. Louise reached out to us to help on Cayuga and then joined us on Seneca. She is the one who woke to see the conditions on Seneca, jumped in her car with her kayak and found us on the lake. She came within 30 minutes after Bob pulled because the winds were pushing him back so much. Her kayak was long, lean and handled the winds and she was fresh. She just appeared and I heard a cheery good morning. Just amazing timing, and why the journey has just been so awesome.

Friends of friends joined the crew and helped us with logistics, and made this really easy for me to plan.

Russ, my main support swimmer starting with Cayuga is someone I actually first met in person just an hour before the start of Cayuga. Most probably think I’ve lost my mind letting someone I just met on my boat for a 20-hour effort, but Russ struck up a conversation with me on Facebook and his love of the Finger Lakes was infectious. He then called Nazareth College and connected with the media department and they then emailed me the week before Cayuga. He just wanted to offer his help in any way, even towing our boat, as he just wanted to be involved. That was his only agenda, and I felt that and these are the folks I want to surround myself with and have done so. I talked with him and while I previously only ever used a support swimmer once (English Channel), I thought 'Why not as it may be fun in that long of a swim?'

I asked his pace and it was perfect. He jumped in for his first bit before sunrise and it was as if we’d swam together our entire lives. He knew the lakes, he knew how to drive a boat and he is a great person. It was a win-win for all. He joined our crew and has been with us since. We got to Seneca start and he already was at the boat with the banners on.

Everyone just pitches in and it really does seem like little effort to get going on each lake. A great crew, land support and community support has made this seem like just fun with little effort otherwise to me, or rather all my effort is in the water type of feeling

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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