Confronting Fears And Finding Strength

Confronting Fears And Finding Strength

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ian Conroy‘s daughters, 16-year-old Olive and 18-year-old Mollie, participated in the training offered by the Camlough Water Festival Committee held at Wild Water Armagh.

Conroy reflected on their training. “I was at all the training sessions with them as part of their recovery team. From the outset, I was confident that they were being guided by well-informed and experienced Ice Swimmers and event organisers.

At the first talk, great emphasis was placed on the difficulties both physical and psychological that swimmers need to prepare for. Olive realised that she was not ready for the challenge and took the brave decision not to go any further with the training, but to continue as part of her sisters recovery team.

Mollie responded quite differently, wanting to engage in the challenge even more.

So the journey began, acclimatising in Camlough Lake in waters down to 1.6°C on wet and windy mornings

The father, watching his own daughter, pondered what each of his daughters brought to the table. “What is it in their make up that facilitates them willingly test themselves in such a unique way? It is not out of competitive zeal, but more bound up in a personal journey.

This journey is for her a very private one. From what I know of the other swimmers, this seems to be a common trait. They don’t seem to need to explain how they are coping, but equally are most generous in their assisting others in any way needed. It is this camaraderie that brought this group through the training process.

Watching a group of strangers supporting each other with the generosity you expect to see from life-long friends is a pleasure to witness. The selfless way that information was shared, support offered, and on more than one occasion, quiet moments of compassion expressed say much of the best of the human condition.

When it came to the day of the 1 km event, everything went well. Mollie and the rest of the team all completed their swims safely, had very well-managed recoveries thanks to the huge amount of knowledgeable and well-prepared support.

The vital link between swim and recovery is a great part of a success. It seems to me if you know you can recover in a controlled and safe way, you enter the water with a great hurdle crossed.

After the success of the 1 km swim, Mollie returned herself to her goal of completing the Ice Mile. She swam another two ice kilometers in preparation, and finally less than three weeks after the 1 km event, she completed the Ice Mile on her second attempt.

Olive was watching and learning all the time and she quietly completed her own 1 km. This was not easy, having to confront her earlier fears and realize the potential within her. I am thankful that they were given the chance to participate in this adventure.

This has been a chance for Mollie and Olive to see something of themselves, confront anxieties and fears and find strength in failures and successes. I know they will bring this new confidence with them in everything they do

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association