From OpenwaterpediaCambridge Masters Swim Club and co-founder of the Nahant Knuckleheads in Nahant, Massachusetts. Downing was a four-year member of the Wellesley College swim team and captain her senior year. She is also an active volunteer and swimmer at the annual Swim Across America events in Boston Harbor and Nantasket Beach.
The Nahant Knuckleheads are a committed group of open water enthusiasts who meet every Sunday at either 8 or 9 am in the DCR parking lot adjacent to the Tides restaurant at Nahant Beach in Massachusetts, U.S.A. for ocean swims that cover 2-4+ miles.
Longer swims are held throughout the season until it is too cold, and will happen rain or shine unless the weather creates surface conditions or currents that are too dangerous. During the winter and spring months the group completes monthly polar bear plunges, usually followed by warm coffee and conversation.
The water temperature in Nahant Beach varies from the upper 30's in the winter to close to 70 Fahrenheit in the late summer. While many in the group prefer to enter the water without a wetsuit year-round (thus the name "Knucklehead"), it is important to bring the necessary attire to safely swim at some of these temperatures (including wetsuits and brightly colored caps to provide extra visibility in the water). These swims are targeted for stronger swimmers who are comfortable swimming in open water conditions that can rapidly change without warning. The swims are not affiliated with any group and all participants must take responsibility for their liability and safety.