The Notorious Alki Swimmers celebrate a member of their group’s reaching 1,000 consecutive days of swimming in cold, Pacific Northwest saltwater with a group swim and a potluck in West Seattle on Monday.

Share story

Wayne Kinslow, 51, celebrates reaching 1,000 consecutive days of swimming in cold, Pacific Northwest saltwater with the Notorious Alki Swimmers in West Seattle Monday.

Kinslow, who runs a home-theater business, swims without a wet suit and often without goggles or a swim cap. “It makes me feel alive,” said Kinslow. “I kinda had a time where I was not as happy in my life and I thought this might bring my happiness back because I really enjoyed it.”

Kinslow often adventures into Puget Sound with members of the Notorious Alki Swimmers, who meet regularly for open-water swims on Saturday mornings year-round.

Kinslow recalled a winter morning when he joined 15 swimmers for a plunge when the air temperature dipped to 17 degrees and water temperature was 43.8 degrees. “It was cold. It was very cold,” he said.

Kinslow said he looks forward to those extreme days. “It’s more of any adventure,” he said.

Curious beachgoers often ask Kinslow and the open-water swimmers questions. “What are you training for?” “Aren’t you worried about hypothermia?” “Were you a Navy SEAL?” “Do you ever worry about the animals out there?”

Kinslow says he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. “To fulfill the 1,000 days gave me a real sense of accomplishment,” he said.