I did my first open water swim of the year today. I’ve been meaning to go to the nearby lake and swim for the last couple of weeks but I just kept putting it off. It just seemed like too much work or it was too cold or whatever…I just went to the pool instead.
The truth is that the first few open water swims always make me a little nervous. I’m a strong swimmer but open water swimming is harder both physically (no lane lines stopping the wave, no walls to push off of) and mentally (it is dark and murky and, oh God, what if something touches my foot?) and so I always feel a little frisson of nerves as I sand on the shore, plotting my route across the lake.
Tonight it was 59 degrees, windy and damp outside. The normally calm lake I swim in was choppy and the water is still shockingly cold (it has been a long, cool spring) which makes it perfect for training for the race in Lake Superior in August. The lake was totally empty as was the beach. I waded in and felt my breath catch as I got chest deep. I took a deep breath and dipped under water and started to swim.
It was hard and the waves were pushing me around but I found a groove. The dark of the water didn’t bother me. At one point I went too long with out spotting the bridge I was swimming toward and found myself swimming parallel to the beach when I should have been perpendicular. I corrected myself and kept swimming.
It was so very quiet under the water.
I don’t know how far I swam. I don’t care.
It felt good, awfully good, to just swim.