Swimmers Profile 23: James M. Bayles (Jim)

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1: Name-James M. Bayles (Jim)
2: Age-57
3: Resides-Newtown, CT, USA
4: Swimming Highlights-·

1 Swam competitively since the age of 5
2 In prep school (private high school) was Honorable All-America
3 During High School years, swam in 4-Mile AAU Nationals 4 times. The course was set up as a cable swim of 440 yards, the precursor to open water swimming. I was 5th once and 6th another time.
4 In college I swam in NCAA Division I Championships twice and made the AAU Championships (precursor to USA Swimming) three times.
5 After going to the Masters World Championships at age 40, I started to swim open water and raise money for charity.
6 I have swum all the ways one can to Manhattan:
1. From the Tappan Zee Bridge – 21 miles
2. From Greenwich, CT to Downtown Manhattan – 30 Miles – 13.05
3. Around Manhattan, starting at the Columbia C in northern Manhattan – 13.05 (against the tide at the end for 5 hours) – 28 miles
4. Sandy Hook, NJ to Downtown Manhattan – 18 miles
1 I have swum to Nantucket Island across the Pollock Rip Channel – 13 Miles and to Block Island – 13 Miles
2 I have attempted to swim from Connecticut to Long Island Bridgeport to Port Jefferson, aborted due to weather; and Westport to Port Jefferson made it
3 I have swim two lakes, Lake Lillinoah and Lake Zoar, which are part of the Housatonic River, in one day, with a portage around a dam – 21 Miles
4 Swam 18 miles in Candlewood Lake
5 I have been in 15 annual fundraisers and generated over $150,000 in donations. My 16th will be this year
4 b: This year’s swim
Will swim from Coney Island, NY to midtown Manhattan or Tappan Zee Bridge to midtown.
5: Biggest influence and coach –My age group coach was a Mrs. Richard W. "Binnie" Close. Her husband was a world-recognized swimming official.
My college coach was Walter M. Lutkus
My coaches for the Channel were Mike Krein, also crewed for me, and Karen Roth, my pool stroke technician.
From a swimming point of view, these people had the biggest influence in my swimming career.
In addition to my parents, these coaches all had a great affect on my swimming career. However, my age group coach as she was like a third parent who taught respect for others and what is right and what is wrong, not just in swimming, but in life.
6: Swimming Idol- I never really had one. Perhaps Don Scholander, Olympic champion in 1964, especially in developing the "perfect stroke," and Charlie Hickok, who won the 400 IM in the Olympics in 1968 and was a roommate/fraternity brother of my older brother, David. I always felt that if you could perform in the 400 IM at the national level, then you were a great swimmer. I made the NCAAs in the 400 IM, twice.
7: Pool or Ocean- I prefer open water: lakes, Long Island Sound, rarely in the ocean.
Pool swimming is a necessary evil.
8: How many kms a week- I swim 4 to 5 times a week, more in the open water season. I will swim about 1,000,000 meters a season.
9: Longest swim and how many hours in the water- 30 Miles – 13:05 from Greenwich, CT to Downtown, Manhattan.
10: Favourite place you have swam- Greenwich, CT to Downtown, Manhattan
11: Coldest place you have swum and temp-Cape Cod to Nantucket, where the water temperature started at 51 or 52 degrees Fahrenheit.
12:Roughest swim e.g. Wave height and wind speed- In the Greenwich to Downtown Manhattan swim, we ran into headwinds of 25 to 30 MPH, 3 foot waves. The wave height wasn’t too bad, but the frequency/reach was quite high, so I could not breathe left or right for about 5 miles; I could only swim breaststroke.
13:Swimming goals- Continue to swim and raise awareness and money for Epilepsy Foundation of CT.I will do a fundraiser each year until I cannot. My next major goal is another attempt at the English Channel in 2012
14:What or who motivates you- Raising awareness for the disease, Epilepsy, which affects more people in the United States than cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease combined
15:How much is Physical% Mental%
Both are 100%. One has to train to make a swim and then one must be prepared, especially if the conditions are not what were expected.
16:Favorite saying- A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
William Greenough Thayer Shedd
High Calvinist of the American Presbyterian Church (1820-1894)
17: Biggest fear swimming e.g.cold jellyfish, sharks etc.None, to date. When I was 9 I swam across a lake that was about 3 miles in width. It is a sand-bottomed lake. About one quarter of a mile from where I started there is a "blue" line which delineates the shallow water and sand bar of about 5 feet, to where the lake drops off to 160 feet. As a nine year old, the water had a primeval feel, and it is colder because of the depth. I could not put my head in the water, so I swam close to 2 1/2 miles breaststroke without putting my head in the water.
18:Swimming close calls- Once I got lost, swimming on my own, in a lake. Not that I was in danger as I could always get to shore, it was only 20 yards away, at, most, but I was in the water for over 5 hours without food or water.
Another time, I was swimming down and back in a lake when they opened the gates to generate power. I swam less than 2 hours down and 4 hours back, again without food or water. I could always stop to rest, but did not.
19:Tips for other swimmers – When training, think about your stroke and techniques. It is useful to have a coach that knows how to see and fix one’s stroke. When attempting a multiple-hour swim, efficiency is the key to a successful a swim.
Cross train both in and out of open water season. This past year, for example, I split wood with a wood maul or with a sledgehammer and wedges.
Do some speed work. For example, between longer sets, do a short set of say 5 X 50s or 5 X 100s or 3 X 150s on decent rest, descend the set and do the set a number of times during the practice. This can improve the swimmer’s speed during the longer sets.
20:What would you eat and drink during a swim- Water, Gatorade, hot, decaffeinated tea. Add to the drinks an additive such as Maxim. Eat gels such as Gu.
For long swims of over 6 hours, do not forget to have liquid children’s Tylenol or another pain reliever added to the liquids one is drinking for hydration. Finally, when swimming in salt water for long periods of time, have mouthwash to clean out the mouth. Also, I always take some water and swirl it inside my mouth and spit it out before I drink anything, just to clear the mouth a bit from what I have been swimming in for the last 30 minutes or so.
In freshwater I also have bagels or other types of breads. Natural peanut butter and jelly is also good.
21Worst place you have swam- Being in the water is never bad.
The most interesting was swimming through Hells’ Gate as the whirlpools were forming and the two tidal bodies, the East River and Long Island Sound, which meet at Hell’s Gate, were retreating from each other causing the whirlpools.
22:Worst injuries- When I was 15, I had severe ear infections that kept me out of the water for almost 3 months. It also changed positively the trajectory of my swimming career.
23:Favorite food, drink, music , movie and holiday destination- I am a beer drinker, when I go out. I will eat almost anything but tomato aspic, jellied veal, tongue and cooked liver, but I like liverwurst.
Casablanca is my favorite movie.
I like classic vinyl rock, folk music, classical music. I do not like opera, but I do like "classical" music as well.
I enjoy Florida in the winter and Northwestern Michigan, not Michigan’s upper peninsula in the summer, where I swam my 3-mile lake swim when I was 9.
24:What do you think of when you are in the water for hours- In open water I count my strokes. I have a pattern of 105 strokes. If one changes sides every third, fifth or seventh arm, the lowest common multiple is 105. It is a good distance and it helps me gage how fast I am swimming. Mostly when I swim in a pool or in open water, I change sides breathing every 7th arm.
25:Where is one place you haven’t or would like to swim- I want to swim the Strait of Gibraltar: Europe to Africa and swim between the two parts of Turkey, where legal, Europe to Asia. Perhaps I can accomplish this double in the same trip to Europe.
26:3 people you would invite to dinner- Historical: Abraham Lincoln, Julius Caesar and the architects of the Hagia Sophia (Isidoros and Anthemios) in Istanbul. Since I didn’t know there were two architects, either pick one or allow me to have an extra person at my table.
Current: Besides my wife and kids, Mike Krein, Wally Lutkus and Scott Lautman to discuss swimming.
27:Cold water tips- Practice, practice, practice, in cold water, the same way you get to Carnegie Hall or the Royal Albert Hall, or the Sydney Opera House.
28:Toughest competitor- John Le Moal, he was a good friend who swam with me at my age group team, prep school and college. Unfortunately, he is no longer alive.
29:Diet and how much is weight a factor on long distance swims- Diet is a factor, especially when preparing. Eat properly, and "carbo-load" just before the swim. Weight is a factor, one can be too skinny to swim in cold water, but too much weight is not good either, especially if it affects how one swims or significantly affects the person’s speed.
30:Pet hate- I would call it a peeve: improper English, using the adjective "good" to modify a verb, instead of the adverb "well." For example: "I don’t feel good." Does that mean that the hands have lost its tactile abilities?
31:Biggest thrill- Besides my wedding day and the days we picked up our adopted children, I have three:
1. Completing the English Channel,
2. Completing the swim from Greenwich CT to Downtown, Manhattan.
3. Being elected to the Dartmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame, called the "Wearers of the Green."
32:Favorite sport besides swimming- Baseball, nothing better than a few beers, peanuts and watching a great pitcher’s duel with excellent fielding/defense and timely hitting.
33:Who would you like to sit next to on a plane-Besides my wife and children, someone who is interesting to talk with, who has interests that are unique and sharable. I once sat next to a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, Anne Marie O’Connor, and we had a great 5 hour flight from Los Angeles area to New York City
34:Car you drive- A Mini Cooper, or as my kids say, a mini pooper!
35:Next swimming challenge- Coney Island or Tappan Zee Bridge to Midtown Manhattan – 14 to 18 miles.
36:Occupation- Real estate information consultant: system and departmental diagnostics, information system implementations
37:D.O.B. December 5, 1951
38:Favorite Pet. Dog – Gordon Setter
39:Reasons for attempting the Channel
1. Because it is "The Swim."
2. Because it is the standard against which all other swims are measured.
3. Because it is there.


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