Today’s the Day I Finally Like Swimming

Welp, Jas and I have arrived in Hawaii for the 2012 Ironman Honu 70.3. Our flight was somewhat interesting as a woman in first class fell unconscious and a flight attendant asked if there was an EMT or doctor on board. Considering how often we fly, we were pretty surprised that we had never run into a “holy crap, there’s a mid-flight medical emergency” situation before. Thankfully, one of my teammates is a nurse and she tended to the woman along with an ER doctor who also happened to be on board. They diagnosed her as having low blood sugar and recommended she drink some fruit juice. Her response: “Can I have a Mai Tai?” Medical emergency be damned, this lady wanted to start her vacation!

Okay, back to the title of the post. It’s no secret I hate swimming. I think it’s bullshit and bemoan the fact that the more time I spend in the water, the slower I seem to get. But damn if Teresa isn’t hell-bent on turning me into a swimmer one of these days. She scheduled a 30 minute swim in a bay and kept telling me how you can see fish and coral and all this other bullshit that is potentially scary (like fucking reef sharks, which some of my teammates had spotted before Jas and I flew in) and Mediocre Athlete-devouring. I walked onto the beach, saw the bay, and saw a little pond between the bay and the parking lot and half-joked whether I could just swim in that instead. (The answer was no.)

The water was actually amazingly calm and a comfortable temperature. I got in with my SS peeps (that’s Slow and Steady for all you fast buttholes who aren’t down with the crappy swimmer lingo) and we took off for a striped buoy about 250 yards out. I swam over a bunch of sharp-looking coral and kept worrying I’d end up punching one and emerge with Bloodsport fists, but I managed to evade the rocks (they were farther down than they looked). We got to the buoy and cut over around some anchored boats, then looped back to where we started before heading back to the original buoy again.

My swim felt surprisingly decent, and aside from getting bit under my right boob by some “what the the hell, why is this microscopic thing attacking me, it’s not fair to get beat up by something I can’t even see” sea louse or tiny urchin or Bullshit Aquatic Amoeba of Death, I emerged unscathed. No shark bites, no stingray barb through the heart, no Eel of Perpetual Pain or whatever. I was actually unimpressed with the aquatic life and didn’t see anything cool other than a couple small gray-looking fish. But whatever, I needed to get my swim workout in so at least Teresa succeeded in dragging me into the ocean.

Then, abruptly, my slow posse ran into Mark and Jason, who popped up and excitedly started blurting out words that barely formed sentences as if they were a couple of seven-year olds who had just met Batman.

Mark and Jason: “Omigodthere’satonofdolphinsouttheredidyouseethemyouhavetogoswimovertothemit’samazing!”


Few things will motivate me to swim longer than my workout entails, but a pod of dolphins swimming majestically through the ocean was enticing enough to get my slow ass to plod an extra couple hundred yards to catch a glimpse. As I swam, I felt as if I were traversing through a spooky fuckin’ forest on my way to Candyland–the water went from being clear and coral-y to dark and murky, and I started to feel a little uneasy. My mind immediately wandered to way too many summers watching Shark Week, and my brain went into panic mode, shouting at me, “Sharks can attack in just four feet of water! They’re attracted to contrasts and you’re a floating buffet thanks to your goddamn Costa Rica tan lines!”

But much how Andy Dufresne crawled through a sewer of shit and emerged a free man, I Shawshank Redemptioned my way through the scary patch of ocean and popped up to see a pod of at least 50 dolphins swimming. It was unreal. People pay a couple hundred bucks to interact with these animals while on vacation, and here we were surrounded by them thanks to pure luck. They swam underneath us, circled us, popped up for air, jumped out of the water and did flips–it was truly one of those unexpected, once in a lifetime events. And if I hadn’t dragged my swim-hating ass out there, I would have missed it.

So yeah, today I like swimming. Every once in a while it ain’t so bad.

Here are some pictures Teresa took with her waterproof camera:

So freaking cool.

Coach Teresa, who is part-dolphin, having a family reunion.

I'm pretty sure when you see this many dolphins together you stop calling them a "pod" and start saying "a crapton of dolphins."

Two dolphins either in love or having a bromance (and Teresa's thumb in the corner)

My teammate Kirsten (left, trying to sink but flexing instead) and me (right). This is the happiest you'll ever see me with regards to swimming.

3 Responses to “ “Today’s the Day I Finally Like Swimming”

  1. Diana says:

    What an amazing experience! I can’t see your face in the photo, but your body language is screaming pure joy. I admit to being envious. . .

  2. Carly says:

    Yay for swimming! What a great reward. Now, use that mental picture on race day. Waiting for the six-pack picture follow up ….

  3. Nanna says:

    Had to see the pictures so found out how to get on your site. Have a great race Saturday.

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