Eight Years of Swimming (Day 155)

This morning I read an article in Elsewhere, the Outdoor Swim Society’s monthly free newsletter about a guy who just finished his 3,000th consecutive swim and now I feel like an amateur with my measly 155 days. Peter Hancock is an aquatic ecologist from Australia who started off in 2014 challenging himself to swim in as many different places as possible that year. He missed three days in the first couple of months of 2014, but from March 3rd he never missed another day. You can read all about it here.

It was an inspiring read and his descriptions of the daily practice of swimming resonated with me; the way the experience is endlessly varying from the weather to the particularity of the water to the company to the reason for swimming on any given day. Sometimes I wonder what I will do on January 1st 2023. Will I go for my 366th swim or will I take the day off? Whatever happens, it’s unimaginable that I will still be on a streak of daily swimming when 2030 rolls around.

Today was a cloudy day down at the Albany Bulb, a full Saturday with a big turnout of swimmers. I went for a relatively lazy paddle out to The Big Tree with Angie, Sheila, and Arwen. Also Kim, but her swim was much less lazy. Colleen and Kira were also there, but they were even less lazy, shooting off to Cesar Chavez for a two-miler. 

The water felt especially clean to me today. Fresh and innervating against my skin. It was also silky, rippling with gentle waves. A squadron of pelicans flew overhead along with some other bird we couldn’t identify (damn Colleen with her two-mile swim), but who was diving with power and grace from great heights. We watched as it caught a fish and then flew away gripping its flailing breakfast in its beak.

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