2005: Nayatt Point / Conimicut Light / Nayatt Point



Date: 14 September 2005.
Distance and route: Just under 2 miles round trip from the public access near Nayatt Point around Conimicut Light and back again. Upper Narragansett Bay.
Water Temperature: 73º F (temperature at Conimicut Light from NOAA website).
Time: 1 hour.
Swimmers: Rich Burrows and John Forasté.
Kayaker: Sean Connor.


Rich Burrows has been my "coach" for a number of years now. We swim Early Bird weekdays together at Brown University in the Smith Swim Center pool. He designs our daily workouts and emails them the day before to our other swimming buddy (Phil Weinstein) and myself. Workouts are usually 3000 yards or meters (depending upon how the pool is set up) - sometimes a little longer. They take us about an hour.

While no two workouts are ever exactly the same, there is a pattern to them. Here's a sample:

1. Warm-up: 12 x 50 - 4 on :60, :55, :50
2. Pull: 400, 300, 200, 100 - Demont style on 1:20 - 1:30 per 100
3. Kick: 1 x 800 EFOF (every fourth one as fast as you can) - all freestyle
4. Swim: 2 x { 2 x 50 easy on :60, 1 x 200 fast on 3:30, 2 x 25 sprint on :30 }
5. Easy: 100
Total: 3200 yards

Rich suggested we do an open water swim in the evening while the weather still permitted. He suggested Bristol to Rumstick Point in Barrington - which I've been wanting to do. But we discovered that there is no public access to the water. Looking for an alternative, I remembered how I've also been wanting to swim to the Conimicut Lighthouse which sits in the Bay halfway between Nayatt Point in Barrington and Warwick Neck. While there is no public access at the point, there is just north of it. So, we agreed to an early evening swim around the Light. Sean Connor, who lives near the public access and had previously kayaked for Phil and me, agreed to kayak. Phil couldn't make it.

So, we met about 5:30 pm. While it was pretty much at slack tide, there was a sailor's wind making the water choppy. It was blowing from the south towards us as we headed to the Light. Rich and I got pounded and couldn't maintain a good stroke, but stuck with it. We were well rewarded as we stood on the rocks at the base of of Conimicut Light in the middle of the Bay and enjoyed a view which probably only a few have enjoyed (should have had a camera!). It's a classic and beautiful lighthouse, established in 1868 and listed on the National Register - though in need of some maintenance. The commerants love it.

The return was not nearly so challenging, since the wind was pushing the water's surface with us, not against us. Rich is fond of negative splitting, where you swim the second half of a set faster than the first. So, standing on the rocks below the Light, he said we should negative split our return. I volunteered some profanity to the spacious sky and Rich and took off, to find that we ended up doing just that. We went out in 33 minutes and returned in 27.

The sun behind soft clouds just off the horizon as we returned, was very special. Considering the swim was - as we could best estimate - just under 2 miles (a modest open water distance), I was well spent as we exited the water. Perhaps it was more a sailor's than a swimmer's evening, but I've never not enjoyed an adventure and good swim.


Map data 2005 NAVTEQ from