Get yourself out there and bring your girlfriends along
It was floating in the back on my mind ever since I first put my head under water two months ago. I could hear the slushy sound of an idea bouncing in my head, like the sound of a wave hitting a buoy, every time I pushed on the hard solid concrete sides of the pool, accumulating laps. I had to get out there. I had to swim in open water.
I bought a wetsuit. I bought a buoy and a water-repellent rope to attach the buoy to me. But I couldn’t get myself out there. Not alone.
So I called out a bunch of girlfriends. Some of them seemed very interested in swimming in open water. Others were seasoned swimmers who had not been out there much. Some of them I knew well, others not so much. None had the all around know-how of swimming in a lake, much less where to go. A happy mix of girlfriends.
I rallied the troop. One of us had heard of a lake up north where no motor boats are allowed, making it safer for us to swim across it. Another woman knew of the buoy trick (both as a floating device and a visual marker). And another woman knew about an awesome market nearby where we did an impromptu grocery afterwards. My kind of shopping spree with girlfriends.
I was a bit nervous about grouping these women. None of them knew each other, but many shared common friends, we found afterwards. Life. I don’t know why but the few times I rallied different friends I felt responsible for mixing the personalities well together. Like I’m the cook when obviously it’s not up to me but all of us. By mixing these women together, I realized how lucky I am to know these amazing women with their own specific strength and knowledge, and even more lucky that they would want to share these with me and my friends. It would have been so much more intimidating to do this by myself. I am forever grateful.
Once in the water, I learned that my safe swim (the breast stroke when I’m in a pool) doesn’t work well in a lake or maybe because I’m wearing a wetsuit. It would seem that I need to rely on the confusing (can’t see where I’m going) back stroke. Even doing the front crawl, I don’t know how to do an efficient “sighting”. I had to stop swimming every 10 strokes to look up where I was and the only way I could do it was to resort to the none efficient brass stroke. This slowed me down and got me off rhythm.
I crossed the lake (900 meters) in about 40 minutes. It would be great to get a little faster and more at ease (i.e. not getting spooked by floating algae just under the surface of the water). I announced to the girls that I would like to be back next Sunday and they all seemed keen to join me again. I even heard a few “maybe I’ll try the triathlon with you” thrown up in the air. We will see!
In addition to the obvious technical knowledge I gained (even only after one go), I realised that, even though I’m a lone wolf type of girl, sharing my adventures with a bunch of smart, enthusiastic, strong women is an excellent confidence booster, or even just an awesome way to spend the day. Can’t wait for next Sunday!