For my last solo swim of the course I swam in the Furman University pool. This swim was different from most of the prior swims I had during the course of this class. I say this because now I have more knowledge about swimming and different perspectives of swimming. With more knowledge of this mysterious thing we call swimming I look at it more as a survival tool. I say this reflecting on my experience of the open water swim in Lake Hartwell. As I know that I can swim, it is different when swimming in something as unfamiliar as a lake. When you cant see the bottom or control the flow of the water and what is in the water, it makes the mind wonder and panic. The ultimate question of “why we swim” is not all the way clear but I have an idea.
We swim for many different reasons, for example Hero and Leander swam for the sake of love. While some people swim in the sense of taking a bath. Others swim because we want to bring people together such as Lynne Cox, who swam the Bering Strait to show the US and Soviets there is peace. Some people swim because the privilege was taken away from them in the early days when swimming became a big commodity. When I say this I mean when the whites slowly took the swimming aspect out of African American neighborhoods in the early 1900’s. Others swim because they love to be in a different environment and get away from the outside world.
Meditative swimming is the kind of trance I go into when swimming slowly, it gives you time to think about the stroke at hand and the breathing needed to survive. Swimming slower I could feel myself stretching and reaching as far as I could to glide through the water. When swimming fast, it is breath taking and tiring, but I do feel swift within the water with the proper coaching from Dr. M! Applying the long stretch to the faster swim makes it less of a struggle propelling through the water.
Swimming in a regular pool versus open water swimming is a drastic change. While swimming in a pool I have the comfort of seeing the bottom and knowing there is nothing in the water that can touch me, beside someone I may be swimming with. And the water temperature is the same all through the pool, where as in the lake the water was warm in some spots and very cold in other places. There was also seaweed that cannot be seen and it sort of grabs your feet and it is not pleasant. Another thing that was new to me within the open water swim was the distribution if the brightly colored flotation devices needed to see swimmer in the water. It was cool knowing that people could see me if I needed help and or was in the way of something coming my way.