- The exhilarating freedom of swimming outside with no lane lines, no turns and no limits
- Being a part of nature, swimming through weeds and the occasional fish, waving hello to the seagull sitting on a buoy, watching the clouds float by, feeling the water temp change as you swim from one area to another.
- The only constant is variety. The waves, wind, weather and time of day all make each swim unique.
- The feel of swimming with, through, over and against the waves
- Asking your kayaker if it's time for your Slimjims and Marlboros
- Swimming further than you ever thought you could possibly swim
- Smiling as people tell you how crazy you are - nobody gets this but other open water swimmers
Which is why it's so much fun to introduce someone else to the joys of open water swimming. Thanks to our handy Internet, it's easy to connect with people all over the world who swim amazing feats - beating off sharks as they swim around the Cape of Good Hope, smashing through ice while swimming in Antarctica, dodging 30 foot waves while caught in halacious storms off the Mediterranean coastline - believe me, there are people doing much, much weirder things than me. But, not many of them in Lincoln, Nebraska, which is why it's so delightful to have found a new swim buddy in Omaha who shares my interest and appreciation for open water swimming.
Sarah found my blog, so if this thing has served no other purpose, it's already done more than I ever expected. She drove from Omaha to meet me at Branched Oak for a Sunday swim. Normally, I am fairly easily motivated to do my Sunday lake swim. But this Sunday was after the Saturday of my husband and my 25th wedding anniversary party. I pretty much just wanted to lay on the couch all day, taking small sips of water. Ow.
But, I knew I had someone counting on me to be there, so I packed up my towel, my safety pillow, all my gear and headed out to the lake. It was a beautiful day -- way too perfect to have spent on the couch.
Sarah rolled in right on time and we slowly waded into the 68 degree water. I know that's tropical compared to English Channel temps, but when your hungover and it's the first "real" cold water you've been in, it feels downright chilling. After a few yards, though, it wasn't bad at all. The sun was shining and there wasn't much wind, so it felt OK. And having a buddy swimmer made it much, much warmer. I was focusing on Sarah and making sure she was doing OK, so I wasn't thinking about my own strokes or the cold water. Hmmm, nice strategy.
We swam a mile, then got out on the beach to get a drink and went back in for another mile. The buoys were gone, so it was even more open. Thankfully, boat traffic was sparse and jet skis were non-existent. It was as good as it gets for lake swimming. Only a support kayaker would have made it more fun so we could have gone all around the lake.
We finished our swim, ate a quick snack and headed for the warm showers. Sarah says she'd come back for another swim, so I assume she enjoyed it, too. It's fun to discover how far you can go in open water. She's going to be so surprised :-)