I was four years old peering over the ledge of the pool. My swim instructor was patiently treading the water with her arms out ready to catch me.
It was the last day of swim class and my instructor took me out to the deep end and was waiting for me to jump in.
“No! I don’t want to” I quivered. She nudged me some more.
“I’ll do it next time, next time” I responded.
“But this is the last class! The last time I’ll see you” she said sweetly.
I saw her face, I looked at the bleachers where my mom was waiting patiently. I couldn’t disappoint them both and I guess this my only chance.
So I took the plunge. And the rest is history.
Well okay, not really. I had a on and off relationship with swimming as a child when I finally started to get serious about it in middle school. I began swimming competitively and then joined the swim team in high school. From a child who was scared shitless of the water, I began swimming about 3 hours a day and averaged 4-5 miles in the water. Morning practices, drill sets, swim meets. That became my life for two years until I couldn’t take it anymore. After all, I needed to make time to study for the SATs.
After swimming, I coached a little but never really got back to swimming. Each time I’d go swim some laps, I would feel discouraged because I was so far from peak shape.
In the last couple of years I’ve become interested in fitness and dabbled in running, yoga, strength training. But swimming has been quietly ignored. I wanted to change that this summer by signing up for my first open water swim.
Fast-forward to race day and I’m so nervous I feel like I’m about to throw up. I learned quickly that open water swimming is very different than pool swimming: no black-line at the bottom to keep you straight, currents, no lanes, and wet-suits (but luckily I didn’t have to use one!).
I arrived to Stevens Creek Reservoir and was surrounded by well-seasoned triathletes and swimmers. For them, this swim for just a trial run but for me, it felt like a matter of life versus death. I convinced my friend Sabrina to do swim it with me, and if it weren’t for her, I might have just quit at this point.
I had my first moment of panic when I was warming-up: I dipped my face into the cool water and all I could see was green. A never-ending sight of green, murky water…AHH. I finally calmed down and took a few strokes. Okay, maybe this isn’t so bad.
The race was only ½ mile so endurance wasn’t the biggest challenge. The difficult part was that random swimmers kept on grabbing me by accident because they couldn’t really see where they were going. Our vision was hindered even more by the sun setting right ahead of us. Every couple of minutes I had to tread water and situate myself to make sure I wasn’t going far off-course.
Despite the few minor challenges, I finished the race safe and sound. And I finished faster than expected (however, I don’t know what my exact time was since I was chilling before the finish line for a few minutes without realizing..stupid). The adrenaline rush kept me going for a few days and I can’t wait to try it again!
Do you have any sports you used to participate in as a kid, but haven’t revisited as an adult? I would love to hear about it!