I have had low swimming ambition this summer, but it was expected – August is now my hardest month of the year.
I partly blame it on my (modest) obsession with ‘cool’ water swimming. For the last two years I have forsaken the pool and stayed in the sea all year long (without a wetsuit). I am acclimating more and loving it more. I say ‘cool’ water because at lowest temp, 15 C, the Mediterranean Sea in this area is not that cold as far as natural water goes. But I also realize that a love for ‘cool’ water swimming is a dangerous slippery slope toward ‘cold’. We’ll see how far this illness takes me.
So, in the 30 C sea temperature and 40+ hot air, I feel like a frog being slowly boiled in a French soup. I make myself go swim and look around often to remember it is still quite beautiful even if it sucks the energy out of me.
However, this summer I can live out longer swims vicariously through some of coach colleagues and other swimming friends who have been taking advantage of their tolerable summer open-water to have wonderful new distance achievements.
As I write this Lennart Larsson, TI swimmer in Orebro Sweden – is crossing Hjalmaren Lake (the 4th longest in Sweden), estimating about 6 hours today.
On 10 August Huseyin Dermis – my swim coach friend in London – swam 24km in Lake Zurich a week ago.
On 9 August Kerstin Norden (mother of Lisa Norden, Swedish Olympic Triathlon Silver medalist), TI Coach in Sätofta, Sweden did 21+ km in another long lake there.
A couple weeks before that Asa Skanheden, TI Coach and Lennart Larsson, both from in Orebro, Sweden went 14k in another long Swedish lake.
On 5 August the EC6 Team sponsored by TI, and guided by Wayne Soutter (who blazed new route on the Irish Channel crossing) attempted to break the channel relay team record held since 1990 by the USA Swimming National Open Water Team. The team composed of Andrew Chamberlain, Berne Zeruhn, Christof Wandratsch, David Warren, Kirsten Cameron, Steve West, were all over 40 years old – and missed the record by just 11 minutes (dang tide!), with a finish time of 7 hours 3 minutes. (Way to go my fellow 40+ year olds!!)
And back in July my friends (and swim camp students) Marita and Margit made bold treks around ‘Marita’s island’ near Gothenburg in Sweden (which I have visited and know it takes some courage!).
(As you can see, those Swedes got a great swim thing going up there! They’ve also got this swim/run race called the Otillo. I am in love!)
Those are just the swims I happened to notice on Facebook – I am sure there are many more, but I simply didn’t spend enough time browsing to see more. If you know of more wonderful achievements you could share them with me on FB.
I think I am both proud of everyone’s achievement and a bit jealous of their nice (cooler) swimming conditions. My favorite water and weather conditions will be back soon so I can wait. You know I cannot complain here in Antalya.
But I sincerely hope that you will, if it is possible, follow your interest in your own local open-water opportunities and gradually make it yours for more of each year. You don’t have to swim far, just swim well and love it. That is the whole point.
© 2014 – 2015, Mediterra International, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mediterra International, LLC and Mediterraswim.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
So many TI ers have posted how they love open water swims. I live near the gulf of Mexico, but have the fear of not only jelly fish, but sharks. Have had some sightings nearby of great white sharks. How do you deal with these threats?
Every body of natural water presents some ‘wild’ features we must become not merely familiar with, but totally acquainted with. (Ignorance is no defense, and stupidity is not a form of bravery!) With any sport or activity in a natural place we have to take into account the real dangers we could possibly face there and plan for how to avoid or face those safely.
I wouldn’t attempt to analyze or make recommendations on what to do in your particular location. But I would encourage you to search carefully for a protected area to swim in, and then study that area thoroughly before putting yourself in any sort of risk. Interview the fishermen or people who use that water frequently. Learn the weather patterns and creature patterns. Get some understanding of how those dangerous creatures behave and where there is a reasonable risk of encountering them and where there is not. And prepare for swimming there with others who know the area, if possible so that there is (hopefully) more collective wisdom and sensibility than an individual’s about making good assessment of the safety of the area.
If you really want to get serious about swimming in creature-filled water… There are new experimental shark-deterrent wetsuits! Or there are anti-jellyfish suits.
And then, once a swimmer has gotten educated, learned avoidance skills, and found as safe a place to swim as possible, there is the mental part of learning to deal with the fearful anticipation of a possible encounter and the actual encounter with such creatures. These are ‘encounter’ skills that need to be practiced as well.