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.
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.