For many years I thought that the beginning of my openwater swimming was as an adult but that issue not entirely true. There were two swims as a teenager that couldnt be further apart in nature. The first was at 15 or 16 returning from a team trip to Reno. We had traveled for a meet in which I had done fairly well. REO Speedway on was big at the time and I remember it being played on a the bus.
' Heard it from a friend who herd it from a friend you've been messing around...'
On the trip back to what is now known as 'Silicon Valley' we stopped at Lake Tahoe for lunch and one of the coaches led an open water swim to those interested. This was the era of bug eye goggles and I had a pair with red lenses. I loved those goggles, they made the water and surroundings different shades of purple.
Donning my goggles, I waded in and was immediately entranced not only by the shades of purple but the clarity and feel of that magnificent blue water. The rocks you could see on the floor of the lake and the small fish hanging out near them. All were purple of course. This is when Tahoe became one of my favorite lakes.
We swam out about 15 minutes and I just wanted to continue on instead of turning back. I loved the motion, the rythym and lack of intrusion. That day I felt I could swim forever. I've never forgotten the feeling or the wonder awoken that afternoon. And the goggles, just saying. I was a teenager but in the water the normal anxieties of the age were forgotten.
The second swim was different, very different. Looking back it was when I first learned you could either persevere or be beaten by the Grey matter between your ears. It was a mile swim out in a lagoon in Redwood City right before Marine World moved north and Oracle took over. The lagoon had flocks of ducks in it and I got ready to swim my first openwater 'race.' As I walked out in the water to the start line my feet sunk into the muck. Yes, duck shit. I couldn't get that thought out of my head, it was like glue. No way was I putting my head down in that water. I finished the race swimming like a waterpolo player. Head up freestyle, in fact i never put my head down the entire 1 mile no matter ehat anyone yelled. My brother was much tougher, he swam his head down the entire race. We both agree to this day, grossest swim ever. But I did finish the race, I did not quit, I just swam water polo freestyle the entire way.