Swimming the Willamette, part 2

Welll, I made it about 1/3 the way across this morning. A giant squid didn’t grab me; I had to stop because my new fins were too heavy and weighed me down instead of propelling me across the river. Plus, I’ve been training in a calm water pool and wasn’t prepared for the slappy little waves. I panicked when I started choking on the water and signaled the safety kayaker to tow me back to the dock.

It was a gorgeous day and the water was refreshingly cold. I’ll be back, but first I need to train harder so I can keep up the pace, buy lighter and shorter fins, and figure out how to breathe without inhaling the river.

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Wild swimming

Tomorrow I’m doing my first open water swim across the Willamette River. It’s a half mile round trip, so not that far, and I’m going with a group of experienced swimmers, plus a swim buddy to watch over me.

I know I can do it, but I’m scared. I’m afraid that something that doesn’t exist, like a fresh water giant squid will grab my feet as I kick past and drag me underwater. We’re swimming by a bridge with enormous stanchions sunk deep into the river floor. I don’t want to look down and see that dark mass underneath. I’m sure that’s where the creatures live.

I was on swim teams when I was a girl and used to frighten myself into swimming faster by imagining I had to save my baby brother who had fallen into the deep end of the pool. With the fear I’m generating in my mind, I’m going to fly across the river to escape that squid.

I’m balanced between wanting to swim in open water and being afraid of the unknown.

I’ll try to remember it’s just me and the water.

Here I go.