On Sunday, August 1, I took another step in the journey to my English Channel swim. I successfully completed the Governors Island swim; my first “official open water swim.” Although this is but one step in the journey, it was an important one during which I learned quite a bit.
The reason I call this my first “official open water swim” is because this is the first distance event for which I did not wear a wetsuit. In the lingo of open water swimmers, I swam “naked.” It was surprisingly different! Because the swim was in salt water, I didn’t suffer any lack of buoyancy. My movements were free and unrestricted. I was able to “feel” the water in a way I hadn’t while wearing a wetsuit. All-in-all, a pleasant feeling.
I learned the lengths my “team” will go to support me. A HUGE thanks to Michelle for doing the swim with me and to Allie for getting up at an ungodly hour to just be there for me. Thanks also to Patty for swimming and Mom for coming out to support all of us!
There were “things” in the water and I had to mentally get past this. Now, when I say “things,” I’m not talking about fish! I believe (or was it just my imagination) I swam through some jellyfish, or perhaps, debris. The feeling was odd. During my stroke, I would feel like I was on the feet of another swimmer. When I looked up to sight, however, there was no one else around me. Quite disconcerting, but now I know how I will react and what I need to do to overcome my feeling of anxiety.
I was pretty proud of my ability to pick a line and hold to it. Some of the swimmers were all over the place. Gauging my line by my distance to the shore and the buoys marking the outside of the course, it appeared I swam pretty straight. An important skill as I don’t want to swim any further than necessary in the open water!
I also paced myself fairly well. I didn’t go off too quickly; I pushed myself into the current at the bottom of Governors Island; I picked up my pace on the final leg. I had some gas left in he tank at the end. My time for the 2 mile swim: 56:56. Not too bad for a rookie.
I am very glad I swam this NYC Swim event. I’ll need to look for other open water swims closer to home so I can continue to gain experience which, I imagine, will be invaluable. After all, there is no substitute for actually experiencing something; I’m sure I will continue to learn new things along he way.