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channel2004

December 2017

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Certified or Certifiable?

Last weekend I did what may be my last real swim in the ocean for the winter.  It was a very cold swim and even colder ambient air temperature.  My goal was two minutes past the water temp because I usually can last a time equal to the water temp when the temps dip to 42 and under, ie 40 degrees equals 40 minutes. 

It also came at a time much to my dismay as a lot of swimmers deciding to be ‘certified ice swimmers.’  I’m not exactly sure what you get for that but I’m pretty sure I am certifiable without anyone’s input.  I made the mistake of tweeting my excursion and it turned weird on another social networking site.  This latest ice swimming craze is very concerning to me.  I’m afraid much like many extreme things folks will attempt it without the appropriate training, acclimation and safety precautions. 

You can die from this, there is no two ways about it and you can do permanent damage to your fingers and toes from the cold among other issues. 

I did a search on ‘Ice Swimming’ and found a voice of reason with a pedigree to match her concerns quoted in the following article:

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/flotilla-ice-swimmers-planning-bering-strait-crossing

As to why do I swim?  I like the camaraderie I find with other swimmers but beyond that it is a purely selfish thing I do.  I do it to feel good, to stay healthy and strong, to challenge myself and to stretch my limits.  Along with the feeling good means other people find me more tolerable than if I didn’t swim but by no means is it to please others.  It is as I say a selfish pastime.  I do like my accomplishments to be reported correctly but other than that I swim for me. 

I enjoy the feel of the water, the wonder that comes from sharing these bodies of water with other more aquatically developed beings, the struggle to find the right balances of speed and endurance, the long hours of solitude while training interspersed with the times I train with other swimmers.  I like the challenge of working to the completion of a goal and the lessons I learn from failing to achieve that goal when it happens. 

Do I quit?  No, it just makes me that much more determined to reach the final goal.  In other words I love the journey and the planning for the next one.  It is only when I swim for someone else or their approval that swimming loses it mystic and magic 

Comments

(Anonymous)

I love the idea that when you do something for others it loses its mystic and magic. I am trying to hold onto the fun and magic while I train with a few big goals in mind this year - I think I need to remember your words, and do it for me, and be selfish, just to keep the magic going. (from @donna_de)