An OWS Moment: The Best Swim I Have Ever Had

author : TriDDS
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Stroke after stroke, my pace was pulling me out into the middle of the lake quickly. The cover seemed to be getting thicker. But still in the distance, the little boathouse was my lighthouse.

Hours in the Pool. Yards on Top of Yards. Nothing tops a great OWS (Open Water Swim). If you have any ill feelings from open water swimming, I suggest you work your hardest to get past them. This story explains the true rush you can feel from a simple swim.

I awoke this weekend at 6:30 a.m. In my mind, I knew I was going to train with a long swim. Everything was laid out the night before; the anticipation had already begun. So with wife and child asleep, I snuck out of the house like a teenager sneaking in after curfew.

Right out the door, my uncle was actually finishing his run (all crazies seem to rise early). We walked toward his place, talking like it was just another great day for a workout. As we approached the lake, a view through the trees unveiled a mist on the lake and images of the movie The Fog danced in my head. But as I descended the stairs, I was becoming evermore excited. It was going to be a fun swim.

Everything was set on the picnic table. My blue Seventy wetsuit, worth every penny, glided on seemingly effortlessly. It was GO time. Peering across the lake at the white boathouse, I waded into the water. My point was there, but hard to see through the fog. So I started my stopwatch and embarked on what was—unbeknownst to me—the best swimming moment I have ever had.

Stroke after stroke, my pace was pulling me out into the middle of the lake quickly. The cover seemed to be getting thicker. But still in the distance, the little boathouse was my lighthouse. I knew that was the goal and I WOULD REACH IT! About halfway there, I thought, "I am in the middle and deepest part of the lake! Are there any boats out here? What if someone threw an alligator in here? Who would find my half-eaten torso floating here? Is this a scene out of Open Water?" The strokes increased in intensity. That little boathouse was about 200m away.

Once I reached the half way point (the white boat house—remember, I still have to swim back), I quickly fixed my goggles, which broke their seal a little with the increased intensity that got me here. Once this was quickly resolved I turned to spot my point of origin...GONE! Lost in the clouds, it was nowhere to be seen. I could not even make out the sides of the lake. The only reference (which, thankfully, I marked earlier) was the sun's little ball of presence in the mist.

 

 

Elkhart Lake

The adventure continued. With no real point to sight at water level, I guided myself home by way of that beam of light. At no point did I see land ahead of me, just fog. So I bore down for a while, knowing that land was all around me, and no matter what, I would hit some. After several powerful bursts, a good sighting was needed. As I glanced forward, I saw NOTHING! Everything around me was gone. I hit the thickest part of the fog. There was NO LAND ANYWHERE! I continued to look forward and took a few more strokes on line. After a few minutes (truly about seven seconds), I saw the sun peek at me off to the left about 15 degrees. So I started in that direction again. My adrenaline was at full blast.   

 

With effortless strokes, I propelled through over the lake and toward home. After 100m or so, the fog was starting to thin and I noticed land was not far off. I kept the sun as my guide and sighted straight as an arrow the remainder of the way. The closer to land I was, the clearer the view. After 40 minutes and just over a mile in water, I found home. I should have wanted to drop and kiss the land like a sailor after being at sea in the worst storms, but I had no inclination. I actually did not want to be on land…I wanted to go again! It was hard to curb my overall exuberance. I wanted to let the world know how it felt. I wanted to scream as if I won the IM in Kona. It was too early; I had to share it with someone. I had to share this experience. Thus, I am sharing it with you!

This story may not be as exciting to you, but I truly find OWS a thrill. Biking is my strong sport and running is a problem with two surgically repaired ACL’s (the last surgery was Oct 8, 2005 – yes, less than one year ago). Swimming brings out the true fire in me. Like most, I learned in elementary school how to swim, but did not start competitively training until February this year. In six months, I have gone from struggling through 400 yd workouts to swimming 1.1 miles across Elkhart Lake (Wisconsin) for 40 consistent minutes. I am not the best but I am a triathlete, and I love every minute of it.

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date: September 3, 2006

TriDDS

Swimming, Biking, and finishing (poor knees don't run so well) also golfing, volleyball, windsurfing, basketball (except the knees dont work so well), and most of all TIME WITH MY LOVING WIFE AND SONs.

avatarTriDDS

Swimming, Biking, and finishing (poor knees don't run so well) also golfing, volleyball, windsurfing, basketball (except the knees dont work so well), and most of all TIME WITH MY LOVING WIFE AND SONs.

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