Let me start off by saying that I was extremely surprised at how much I enjoyed our open water swim. First I was expecting just to hang by the shore while the rest of the class swam to the buoy and back. After I decided to give the full mile swim a shot I expected to be completely worn out after a few minutes and have to struggle most of the way, probably choking on water while trying to catch my breath. However, being in a new and slightly unsure environment was so exciting. I loved being out of the pool and having more to think about and take in than just chlorine and lane lines.
This open water swim honestly changed my opinion about the whole sport. Before, I thought swimming was only for certain people. Every time we had a class workout I thought “This is okay, but I’d rather be running. I’m just not a swimmer.” Every individual swim, even the one this weekend, I thought “This is kind of unenjoyable. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.” But even though I have all of these thoughts while I’m doing laps in the pool, the experience that I had in Lake Hartwell has made me start to believe that everyone is a swimmer and that there’s a different type of swimming for everyone. Some people love doing laps in a familiar pool and hate the unknown of open water. Some people love the thrill of a lake but hate the monotony of concrete walls. I think everyone has to find the type of swimming they like in order to realize that they too are a swimmer.
Now onto the question of why we swim. Of course everyone has there own personal reasons for swimming; exercise, fun, community, and adventure are just a few of these. I think that as a whole, people swim because humans have an inherent fascination and interest in water. Whether that’s because water is like a foreign world to us that we can’t help but experience or because, as Lynn Sherr says in Chapter 3 of Swim, we have some distant relation to the 375-million-year-old Tiktaalik.
The reason why I say this is because it seems like people are naturally drawn to water. I would bet that most often vacations are spent visiting oceans, either swimming or just sitting on the beach enjoying the view. This also speaks to the relaxing quality of water that we often talked about in class. Day to day excursions often take people to lakes, rivers, waterfalls, or even water parks. Backyard pools are a common occurrence in addition to public and private Although they’re not always swimming, people just like to be near water. Personally, if my family is not heading to the coast, we’re in Colorado hiking miles just to be able to sit by a waterfall for a while.
I think we swim because we naturally love the water. Heck, why do babies automatically paddle their arms and legs when put in water? Even if breathing air and sporting arms and legs instead of fins makes it a little more difficult, we embrace the challenge and enjoy it.