I used to be perfectly contented to traverse a concrete box of flat climate controlled water. These days I crave salt, chop, and the kind of adventure you can’t get a few lanes over from an aqua aerobics class.
Hi everybody, my name is Rob D. and I’m hooked on Open Water Swimming. It wasn’t always the case, I used to be perfectly contented to traverse a concrete box of flat climate controlled water. These days I crave salt, chop, and the kind of adventure you can’t get a few lanes over from an aqua aerobics class. So how’d we get here? Well, Open Water is sneaky. It starts as a fun distraction from the pool. It turns into a summertime hobby… and then a wintertime hobby too. Soon it grows into being an obsession and eventually you end up in thousands of feet of cold salt water miles from land around midnight in just a banana hammock getting stung by giant jellyfish… for fun. The ocean does weird things to your brain man.
Jumping into the middle Monterey Bay somewhere around midnight - picture by Michael Peck
So let’s back this up. Why is it Open Water Swimming has such a hold on me? It’s wild and free and spontaneous. It can even be a little scary and dangerous sometimes. It’s everything the rest of my daily life isn’t and it’s all these wonderful things about a large body of water that remind me I’m alive. Plus the mild euphoria associated with the early stages of hypothermia is kinda fun. When it comes to the sport of Open Water Swimming I’ve taken more of an experiential approach. I’m not into it for accurately timed glory, I’m into it because I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy racing, but I will stop every once and a while to pull a camera out of my swimsuit and take a few pictures.
video break in the middle of the Big Shoulders 5k Swim in Chicago
For me Open Water has transcended sport and become more of a lifestyle endeavor. Much the way it is for those “soul surfer” types of dudes that center their life around the ocean although they get nothing tangible in return, just stoke. If you’re out in the water on a regular basis and don’t feel that stokedness then I fear you’re doing it wrong. Slow down a bit, smile, and enjoy the amazingness of what lies just off our shores… don’t worry, I’ll show you how.
Exploring a pier in Avila Beach, CA
Moving forward as my SwimSwam postings continue I’m making it my job to share that stoke with you guys, highlight people in the Open Water community that I’m excited about, and maybe even convert a few of you pool swimmers into future marina mammals.
See you on the beach!
In the words of my friend Danilu Ramirez (Ironman, Ultrarunner, Adventure Racer and my Boogie Boarding Buddy) while canceling her gym membership: "My workouts cannot be contained within these walls!"