Meet the Community of Open Water Swimmers

Community, Camaraderie, Collegiality

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Hundreds of millions of people around the world regularly swim, bike, run, hike or exercise, either alone or together in groups.

While swimming in a pool is a great form of exercise, swimming in the open water can present unique challenges that prevent many from venturing beyond the surf or too far from the shoreline. Cold water, rough water, surf, currents, tides, deep water and marine life are all obstacles that open water swimmers know all too well.

But those that do take up the challenge share a strong common bond. Put any open water swimmers together on an airplane sitting next to one another and they will form an amicable friendship and develop a healthy mutual respect.

They will share non-stop stories that generates smiles, nods and laughter. They will discuss their nervousness before a race and their sense of accomplishment after. They will compare swims of different water temperatures, distances and conditions. They will talk about feeling too cold and feeling too warm.

They can quickly understand leaking goggles, boat fumes and sore muscles. They know the feeling of a sting of a jellyfish and the sting of cold water. They can appreciate the feeling of swimming fast or against the currents. They know what it is like to swim well in calm waters and the opposite sensation of being disoriented in the open water. They completely understand and appreciate what their newly found friend is saying without being told all the details.

Like marathon runners, deep-sea divers, mountain climbers and triathletes, open water swimmers can colorfully imagine and immediately grasp the experiences and feelings of a fellow athlete. Their common ties generate camaraderie and their bonds magnify a heartfelt sense of accomplishment - because they are both now a part of a greater community.

Whether you jump in the ocean and swim past the surf or you swim across a lake, this sense of open water adventure crosses all cultures, ages, backgrounds and abilities. The challenge – and new friendships made – help make your efforts worthwhile.

Join in the Open Water Swimming Community by participating in Open Water Wednesday and seeing how others enjoy the sport.