My Big Swim
October 8, 2012
A week ago Saturday, I swam in the Swim Across America fundraiser swim that I had been preparing for all summer. The event raised close to $350,000 for the Cancer Survivors program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and the cancer research programs at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. It was wonderful to be involved with the event.
The day couldn’t have gone better. I had the pleasure of riding up to the event with three Menlo Masters team mates- all of us juggle swimming with being wives, moms and with work. After getting body marked and tattooed, we rode a trolly to the ferry terminal where we boarded our boat. It took us out to Alcatraz, then over to the Golden Gate Bridge. On the ride, we heard from many cancer survivors and olympians who were doing the swim with us. It was inspirational for me to be surrounded by all the courageous men and women who have fought cancer. There were also a few kids doing the .5 mile swim- one of whom was a cancer survivor.
As we moved under the bridge, the boat turned around, and it was time to hop in. New swimmers had the option of having a swim angel swim along with them. I took advantage of this, and a woman named Rebecca swam with me the whole way. The water was a bit choppy when we hopped in, but it smoothed out about halfway through the swim. I stayed in the middle of the pack, which is where I like to be. There was a ton of support. There were five zodiaks, a San Francisco police boat, the Coast Guard and over 20 kayakers there to support the swimmers. There is a back eddy that runs along the shore of Crissy Field. If you swim directly to the shore from the bridge, you’ll get caught in the back eddy. So, we had to swim parallel to the shore until we got past the back eddy. Because there was so much support, there were kayakers there to tell us when to angle into shore. Super helpful. Honestly, I felt a bit like I was being herded. I’m not great at sighting yet. Because I was swimming with someone who had done the event before, I sighted off her each time I breathed to my right. When I got too far from her, I would see a kayaker paddle up to my left, and I knew that I had to move over. One of the highlights for me was going my 44 year old race pace and having Annika Dries and Heather Petri from the 2012 US women’s olympic water polo team zoom past me in the water. They smoked me- while passing a water polo ball back and forth. I was expecting the swim to be very hard, and it wasn’t. The tide was coming in as we swam, and it only took me about 35 minutes to do 1.5 miles. I had thought that it would take me about 45 minutes. What a wonderfully memorable day.
Thanks for reading!