I always loved swimming. Even when I wasn’t officially swimming (that giant gap between age 13 and 39), my body has felt happiest in the water. This blog is an effort to capture some of my passion for swimming, being in the water, discovering new places to swim, and challenging myself to be the best I can be.
I grew up in Saskatoon, the first daughter of parents who met as lifeguards during the 60s. From a very early age I was enrolled in Red Cross swimming lessons and lifesaving stages. When I was 8, my parents signed me up for speed swimming, and I took to it immediately. Not only did I love being coached and going to practice, I loved going to swim meets and being part of a swim CLUB. Riding the bus to faraway meets, staying with new billet families, and making friends from all over my own city and many others was very motivating. My swimming friends became some of the most influential of my life. I’m still connected to many of them.I swam with the Saskatoon YMCA Lasers Swim Club until we moved to San Diego, California when I was 11 so that my Dad could do his Master’s Degree at San Diego State University. My sister and I joined the Heartland Swim Club. As an unsophisticated Canadian with a rat tail and a Michael Jackson t-shirt, Grade 6 was a difficult time. But in the pool, with our yellow latex caps and black speedos – nobody cared about geekiness or trendiness, and the swim club became my social outlet. We travelled to meets all over the San Diego area, and as far as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Our swim club family was such a huge part of our lives. When the time came to return to Saskatchewan, they threw us a massive party. They even had sweatshirts made for us. Mine’s upstairs in my closet dresser.
We returned to Saskatoon in summer 1986 and I came back to the Lasers. I enjoyed training and competing for a while, but the last 2 years of my speed swimming career were punctuated by periods of self-doubt, a plateau in improvement, and the inevitable draw of other interesting activities that weren’t possible given my training and travel schedule. I loved the social aspect, but I didn’t think I was getting any faster. I was specializing in backstroke and IM, but my training didn’t translate to amazing podium finishes. I didn’t envision continuing swimming through high school at the expense of not participating in other sports, especially if I wasn’t good enough to make it. I am the child of very realistic parents, who never pushed or promoted Olympic dreams. This is not to say that they didn’t support me. They drove to 6 am practices. They baked for the meet concessions. They socialized with the other swim parents. They fundraised endlessly so that both my sister and I could be part of the sport we loved. They didn’t put up any resistance when I decided to quit, because they understood that I needed a break.
There is a big chunk of time that is better suited to another blog that I don’t have time to write. In a nutshell: high school, travel, university, travel, marriage, parenthood, travel, work work work work work. 🙂
(the reader imagines time passing)
And then suddenly, I was 39 and living in Rossland, BC. My daughter was 9 and had been swimming for a few years. I started going to the pool to sneak in a workout while she had her practice, and some sort of strange muscle memory took hold of my body. Suddenly, I was swimming again and I wanted to swim. Summer travels took me to several beautiful lakes during that time, and I started to entertain thoughts of doing some open water events. Some good friends invite me to do the swimming leg in a sprint triathlon, and the swim went well. With a little research, I discovered several events that were within driving distance, and I concocted a plan to do 4 swims for my 40th year. That’s where this blog really starts. I’m going to write about the different swims I’ve done, my training, my setbacks and rebounds, and my thoughts on what swimming continues to give me.
Thanks for reading!