Ok, I guess it's my turn now...
I stood in flannel warm-ups on a rocky beach looking out across a expansive mass of darkness, which glistened harmoniousness as the surface reflected the warm July sun. It was difficult to see the bottom past a few feet from where the rhythmic tides hit the shore bring along with it clumps of seaweed and other sea life. Baby crabs, not much bigger than pennies, scuttled quickly towards the water. As the officials call us over to the docks for the start of the race, I took one last look at the white boat in the distance that marked the turn around point of the course.
Jumping into the chilly water and swimming a 3K at the Fran Schnarr Metropolitan Swimming Open Water Championship, from one barnacle-covered dock to another barnacle-covered dock and back 3 times, was perhaps the last thing I wanted to at the age of 14. And I vehemently expressed this disinterest after the swim. "Never," I said, "NEVER am I ever going to swim that again!"
Well, the following 3 years brought me deeper into the open-water world, each year bring with it some kind of drama. Swimming the 5K during these years I swallowed a jellyfish the first year (my coach claimed it was good protein when I told him after the race), had a friend got out for hypothermia the second year, and overheated and became severely dehydrated the third year. And yet, I loved it.
It was always a joke that I was going to swim the English Channel. I was the only swimmer in my grade during high school and people naturally assumed anyone with any swimming talent would be able to swim the English Channel, the pinnacle of all swims. I was awarded the "Person Most Likely to Swim the English Channel" award at the end of my AP U.S. Government and Politics class in senior year. Obviously, I never really took this seriously. However, after hearing that Clara Bennett swam it the summer I began college at MIT, the seed was embedded deep inside my brain. The more I heard from Clara about the grappling coldness, the draining distance, the jellyfish stings, the boat fumes, and other details that made my previous open-water swims a joke, the more I wanted to do it.
I first approached Syndey with this idea of swimming the Channel last year perhaps because I knew she was a do-er. It would not have been the perils of the sea that stopped me. I knew if we had agreed to this I would have no excuses to not do it. I am in awe of Sydney's motivation to accomplish things and I know she will be my motivation to go forward when I feel like giving-up.
I don't think I will fully understand the craziness of swimming the English Channel until I do it. Maybe I crave the challenge or maybe I just want to prove that I can do it. But all I know is: I AM SO EXCITED FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!