(WTNH) — Dr. Joseph Zelson has been a competitive swimmer all of his life. When the pandemic hit, sitting on the couch at home was not an option. So a couple of weeks later, in early April, he decided to give the Long Island Sound a try.

“We went in the water and it was 46 degrees. Couldn’t put your face in it or you’d get an ice cream headache,” Dr. Zelson jokes.

A heavy-duty wetsuit, sometimes two swimming caps and a set of flippers, and he’s ready to go.
And Joe is not alone—he has been swimming at least four or five times a week for the last six months with other area swimmers.

“We couldn’t get our faces in the water, our head hurt, the water was freezing cold in May and we just kind of got used to it,” Linda says.

Doctor Zelson is a retired pediatrician. For decades, the morning ritual was a trip to the swimming pool. Now at age 79, he is grateful for the opportunity to be in the Sound with friends.

“They all think that I’m doing them a favor by organizing this but they’re really doing me a favor because my wife won’t let me swim alone,” he says.

The Sound not only allows him to exercise, but it gives him some peace of mind – no worries about mask-wearing or social distancing.

“Come in the water and your brain clears out. It’s just so invigorating. It makes your day. Nothing beats it.”

It may be November, but Dr. Zelson and company don’t have any plans of stopping anytime soon.