By: Betsy Davis
Adapting to swimming, especially open water swimming can be a challenge.
I swam a bit as a kid but nothing prepared me for the return to the
pool as an adult, let alone my first open water swim experience. My
first real ocean swim was in preparation for the Triathlon at Pacific
Grove. I remember the fear involved in swimming in the ocean…the cold,
the critters, the kelp. My preparation paid off and I participated in
many triathlons, vowing I would never do Alcatraz.
But somehow, I found myself ready to face the Alcatraz challenge. Nothing prepared me for the absolute exhilaration and sense of accomplishment I felt in completing that first Alcatraz swim…..I couldn’t believe it…me a 40 something mother of three little kids! Doing that first Alcatraz swim made me dig very deep, and walk through some strong fears…the good thing is it caused me to really pray and seek God in a way I might not have otherwise. I was really worried about the jump from the boat, but I found that once I was in the water it was game time. No time to freak out, just time to “get her done”. Like childbirth, there’s no going back now!
At the first pre-race swim clinic I went to, the announcer exhorted us to stop mid-swim/mid-bay and take a look at where we were. I am so glad I took his advice…I stopped and looked at the approaching shoreline of the city and thanked God for the courage to step up and work through my fears. I am SO glad I did.
I really feel that open water swimming has made me a complete swimmer…not just one who circles the pool 3 days a week. As hard as it was adapting to the pool and then the open water my first year off swimming, I would not be the athlete I am, learned what I’ve learned, and be the well rounded athlete and person I am thanks to cross training—swimming in particular. Many people (especially runners) dread the idea of having to swim and will only do so if they have to because of injury. They are missing out on so much by not giving the pool, and the ocean a “Tri”.