The milestone of 300 swims seems somehow less momentous than 100 or 200 did. Maybe it’s because I’m so close to the end of my year of swimming: 365 is the number on my mind these days; 300 is just a signpost telling me it’s coming soon. But maybe it’s also because daily swims have become such a taken-for-granted part of my life. Waking up, filling my empty detergent bottle with hot water, finding a dry bathing suit, and heading down to the water are as much a part of my morning routine as drinking my coffee. The number of days in a row I’ve swum seems less remarkable the more routine it becomes.
Angie, Rosemary, and I met up at the Albany Bulb for an earlyish swim and we were rewarded with an incredibly beautiful bay: Sunrise peach water, still and calm, filled with light.
I’ve been exceedingly tired lately and I imagined myself taking it easy today. But then Rosemary joined us. Rosemary is always the first to jump in and immediately takes off, swimming way out in front. She’s the speck in the far distance I can just barely see whenever I join the 8 o’clock swimmers. Once she was in the mix, I knew it wouldn’t be a take-it-easy kind of morning. But, I was glad. For one reason or another (mostly good—birthday celebrations, stunning sunrises, new friends), I’ve been taking it easy ever since that big swim to Brooks Island nearly two weeks ago. It was time to put my head down and swim hard.
I couldn’t have asked for a better morning for it. The water was cold (60 degrees, but it felt colder), but glassy calm and silky smooth. I enjoyed the sensation of the cold on my arms and legs as I worked hard; a tingling well-being that stayed with me the whole time. I did have to stop and take some pictures and video—it was too pretty not to—but mostly I swam; joyously, imperfectly, freely.
Later in the day, my extreme fatigue set in again (so much so that I took a Covid test—it was negative), and it’s taken me all day to muster up the energy to write this blog. The lag has given me a lot of time to reflect on my 300th swim. On my 100th, I had Covid and swam in the pre-dawn quiet of the Albany Bulb, thinking about the healing powers of the cold water. Throughout that Covid experience, my brief morning dips were the highlights of my day; the only times I felt better. On my 200th swim, I was at Lac Louisa, swimming laps at Adult Swim and relishing in the pride I felt at having done something so consistently after a lifetime of dropped habits.
Today, both of those aspects of this swimming adventure feel very relevant. I felt strong and healthy in the water this morning, despite the general malaise gripping me the rest of the time. And, in the context of continued struggles with all sorts of tasks and habits, I’m grateful that I have this accomplishment to celebrate every single day (and the follow-up accomplishment of writing about it). It’s a gift to myself in so many ways.