Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming… Dory’s song from Finding Nemo cycled through my head as I plunged chest first (couldn’t get my face in just yet) into the ocean at Carpinteria Beach. I was attempting my first real ocean swim with a group of swimmers that meets weekly to swim about a mile or so along the shore. The weekly swim brings out all levels of swimmers, most of whom participate in mulit-sport events. (About half of us are signed up for the Ventura Triathlon next weekend.) After meeting a guy who competed in Escape from Alcatraz last weekend and a young couple who cycled 75 miles (up and down canyons) the previous day, I managed to find a few women more at my fitness level to be my swim buddies. No way I’d be swimming alone, no matter how many kayaks are out there doing shark patrol, or swim safety patrol.
What do we do? We swim, swim, swim sings Dory. And that’s what I did, after I finally immersed my face in the water and accepted the fact that I couldn’t see anything other than the random pieces of kelp that floated an inch under my face now and then. (That first piece of kelp nearly made me jump out of my wetsuit, I was so startled!) I even kept swimming despite the fact that my goggles were continuously fogging up and I couldn’t see the buoys at times because of the waves. (I was told today’s swim was a more “technical” swim due to the stronger current and choppier waves.)
Swimming in the ocean is 1000 times harder than in the pool, but eventually I found a rhythm with my breathing, my stroke, and the bobbing of the waves. Not sure my technique was all that great, but that’s okay. I made it about 3/4 mile before I started getting a bit motion sick. A swimmer who gets motion sick? Yup, that’s me. Next time I’ll try wearing a scopolamine patch.
Oh ho ho how I love to swim. When you waaaaaaannnttt to swim you want to swim.