Looking Through Gloom

I arrived at the pond desperate to swim. It had been three days since my schedule had allowed it, and the weather had been wooing me into the crisp refreshing water for all of those three days. Yet I was so overtired I feared that I could not swim across as I wanted to.

Although the air was over eighty degrees, and the sun fierce in its June heat…I was still wearing a ‘rash’ shirt. Not neoprene but a synthetic top so named after its ability to prevent surfboard rash…the surfers wore them to keep warm but they had a dual purpose…
The pond was smooth, no wind to ruffle it. Almost as soon as I set off my goggles fogged impossibly. I resigned myself to looking through gloom the entire swim. On a sunny afternoon too.

I could not be bothered to stop, perhaps at the other side but not in the middle.

After an initial spurt, the one that tricked me into giving a false sense of my strength, my feet started to sink. My arms, thin and relatively non muscular for a swimmer, felt puny. Surely I was not moving forward, only along, at some absurd angle of 45 degrees.
Sometimes, despite my hundreds of swims across the pond, I feel like I am floundering. This is not what I want to feel, puny, weak, floundering. I kept going. That is the beauty of open water swimming, no matter how demotivated I am by my performance, by my inability to rid my mind of nagging thoughts and aggravations, I have no choice but to keep going. Left over right, right over left…breathe blow.

Eventually, feeling no better except that I had endured, I reached the beach where I started, and got out to find my towel and turned round to see where I had been. I felt good. I kept at it. Did not turn half way when I was feeling demoralized. When I was wondering how it was I could call myself a swimmer?

I kept going and finished what I started.



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