The day after tomorrow I have my first genuinely big open water swim. It is swim #1 of my Finger Lakes Swim Project – an attempt to swim the length of all 11 of NY’s Finger Lakes over the next year.
I don’t usually get nervous before events. I am confident in my training and my abilities, but I’ll admit that I have butterflies this time. The more I’ve been exposed to the wonders of open water swimming, the more I’ve fallen in love with it. There is simply no way to put into words the humbling feeling of being “in the moment” out in a big body of water, alone, under one’s own power. At the same time, I’ve also grown to appreciate just how challenging open water swimming is and how dangerous a sport it can potentially be. It certainly isn’t a sane sport. The idea of plunging into an element humans weren’t made for with its own weather, currents, tides, animals, weeds, random floating things, water craft, etc. There’s the risk of cramps and just-about-anything-creepy-in-the-water-induced panic. Oh, and than there’s the fact that you can’t stop. Once you enter the water you’re either all in or all out. Out on the trail you can take a break if you need to, but there is no way to “half-ass” an open water swim.