Do you remember the time you first swam in the ocean? Or perhaps you are thinking this summer looks like a great time to start. I swam 20 hours a week for years but the ocean was definitely just for looking at, aside from a paddle up to my knees that is, until I was probably 22!
There used to be many things that could put me off at any given moment; It looks sharky, it’s too cold, too windy, to wavy, there is seaweed there, it’s too deep, it’s not deep enough to swim in, because I only went up to my knees!
The power of time
With hindsight I can see how gradual immersion over years into the big blue has taken those fears away. By practising swimming in the ocean, learning about currents, rips, waves, taking an interest in the variety of seaweed and the pretty shapes it comes in as well as the amazing animals that live there has all helped. I can confirm no giant man eating squid has been seen leaving the weed to even touch anyone!
My first proper ocean swims in Gnarabup were mostly spent swimming practically on top of my swimming buddies Fab Man, Ray and Eddie. Since then I have been afraid, panicked, been rescued and let my mind play tricks on me whilst out in the water. Ultimately I have always gone back for more because swimming in the ocean to me provides the best feeling of all. Especially if you do it with other people and those friendships formed when you are being brave are truly special.
Mermaid Stories to inspire and encourage
This summer we are running 4 free Ocean Swimming Skills classes in Gnarabup. Simply sign up via the swimming women website to join in. To help inspire you I asked a few mermaids that now swim in any weather, for their thoughts on early days ocean swimming when they didn’t feel so brave. If it won’t make you emotional it should definitely make you realise you can do this:
Carrie: I have never been worried about swimming in the sea but I have had a few surprises when I have had vertigo when sand and bubbles have boggled my brain. I remembered your advice and came up for a few calming breathes and it passed.
Cate: When I ocean swim alone I can still sometimes feel vulnerable and slightly anxious but when I swim together with the mermaid pod or just one other swimmer who has been guided by Charlie I feel safe, supported and sensational.
Andrea more than one priceless memory:
- Panic and cold sweats driving into Gnarabup carpark on ocean swimming class days.
- Throwing myself into it with gusto then crying back on the beach because it was all so hard and so scary.
- Overheard by another newbie at one of those early classes “what is she talking about – I have no idea!”
- Busselton Jetty solo swim: Standing on the beach looking at that big long jetty thinking that I hadn’t really thought this thing through – although I had pre planned exit points at the ladders if it was all too hard. Then giving myself a pep talk – its just swimming and its like going for a long walk…sometimes I walk further than normal and today I am just going to swim further normal. My personal strategy was then and still is to get to the first marker and then to the next marker…