The Discomfort And Euphoria Of Open Water Swimming

The Discomfort And Euphoria Of Open Water Swimming

My philosophy is, you have to have the right screw loose to be a good endurance athlete. You look at the best ones, they’re crazy,” described Alex Meyer to the New York Times about marathon swimmers.

It was very difficult. No one has ever been stupid enough to attempt this before,” recalled David Yudovin, an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame of his 7 hour 52 minute swim in Indonesia.

[The escort crews] are your life support…for whatever time it takes. You hand your life over to [them]. You don’t know them, but all of a sudden they are the greatest friends you’ll ever come across. It is an incredible feeling…very humbling, explained “Stephen Redmond about those volunteers and pilots who serve to guide, feed and protect open water swimmers.

There’s something beautiful about man at his absolute breaking point. It hurts and it hurts and you keep pushing. Your body says no but your mind says yes. It’s like a feeling of euphoria,” said Alex in another attempt to analyze open water swimmers.

I try to focus and think about one day of absolute misery,” recalled Dr. Roger Allsopp of his English Channel swim.

These four swimmers – one in Indonesia, one from Ireland, one based out of Boston and another from England – all speak of the threshold of discomfort that open water swimmers are willing to experience.

When growing numbers of older swimmers like Pat Gallant-Charette who are willing to push themselves beyond their reasonable limits from the English Channel (15 hours 57 minutes) to the Catalina Channel (14 hours 11 minutes) and elite athletes like Antje Mahn who was unwillingly pulled crying, shaking and dry-heaving from a FINA race under inhospitable conditions, it highlights how a sport can be so inherently alluring and dangerous at the same time.

When the allure towards a risky activity reaches its tipping point, the days of lackadaisical attention and limited resources applied to the safety of open water swimmers by those who sanction, organize and oversee open water swimming are fortunately, logically, legally and morally, coming to an end.

Because some open water swimmers painfully enjoy the experience.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source