Some of you are swimming regularly, some of you not, some of you are training for a swimming event, some of you are not, yet what has become more and more apparent to me lately is the genuine way in which all Swimming Women and SwimMen are supporting and encouraging each other and it is really inspiring.
They* say when you are inspired you will turn up of your own accord, that when you find a tribe, or group that you belong to, you don’t care or worry so much about what others think as you know where you belong. This weekend 25 Swimming Women and Swim Men took part in the Busselton leg of the WA Open Water Swimming Series. It was a well run event and Busselton really turned on its turquoise making it a great morning of swimming. Special congratulations must go to Caroline Rolf who won the 2.5km distance in the Legends category.
Amongst the swimming women, SwimMen, and girls several hadn’t entered an open water race before, let alone a race, had never swum so far without stopping (5km, 2.5km, or 1.25km) or had only ever done the Gnarabup swim, safe in our own shores.
There was nervousness, anxiety, and over thinking of wetsuit or non wetsuit; there were those who became very chatty and those who withdrew inwards; those who totally understood the race order, instructions and course and those who were still swimming out to the start line when the race started. But none of that mattered because everyone was simply having a go regardless.
At the end of the race, the desire for coffee was enormous, the smell wafting from The Goose tantalising us with bacon and eggs yet there were still a few tail enders completing their 5km swim out in the open water. The Mermaids insisted on staying, on cheering in the last few competitors, regardless of who they were. It didn’t matter the coffee queue was getting longer, that most of the competitors and spectators had left, and that organisers were packing away the event. Swimming Women were standing on that beach cheering them in like they were their own friends.
I think perhaps they recognise the courage it takes to put yourself out there, that we all come last at some time, but that the slowest or last place is far from the person who lost. My whole reason for starting Swimming Women was to bring people together to swim and it doesn’t matter if you swim in lane 1 or 4, swim 5 times a week or once in a blue moon. Turning up and having a go is what it is about. There will always be someone faster and slower, if not at that session then at another, someone who is having a bad day, or worrying about things and do you know what? None of it matters. Swimming together, sharing stories, challenging yourself and having a go is what’s important and I genuinely hope Mermaid (and Merman) spirit helps you swim with a smile!
*They – people who I have heard or read say things that resonate with my thoughts.