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For open water swimmers, even chilly, choppy water beckons

KEYT

By KATHERINE ROTH
Associated Press

Many beaches won’t open for weeks, but already one dedicated group is quietly pacing the shore. They note the shifting tides, the current, the wind. They’ll gush about the color of the water, the angle of the sun, the shape of the clouds. They are the first to plunge in when those on shore are still shivering in sweaters. Open water swimmers of all ages are drawn to the sense of camaraderie, natural beauty and a deep, almost transcendental feeling that they say comes hand in hand with some very real challenges. Dorothy Harza swims in Lake Michigan from May to November and says it makes her 93-year-old body feel better. Too cold? Not when you’re in the water, she says.

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