Jamie Patrick, Return To The Water

Jamie Patrick, Return To The Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Jamie Patrick began his announcement with his signature passion, “It is with great excitement that I announce my next big adventure. After months of planning I will once again return to the water.”

“…return to the water…” sounds similar to Kevin Murphy’s definition of his own marathon swims, “…going for a little dip…”

Patrick’s adventure? 78 miles or 125 km in the Bahamas.

He will attempt to swim one mile further than Chloë McCardel’s historic 124.4 km (77.3 mile) swim from Eleuratha to Nassau in the Bahamas last year (see here).

Like McCardel’s 41 hour 21 minute solo effort that led to her hospitalization for 6 days due to a plethora of jellyfish stings, Patrick is entering into high-risk waters.

I will test myself mentally, physically and spiritually on this journey, and am grateful to be free of the burden and the strain of any outside influences,” writes Patrick.

From his neoprened double crossing of Lake Tahoe to his solo 31+ hour swim down the Sacramento River in California, Patrick is going back to his fun-loving roots. “I am going to what I have done before. Just have fun. For me, everything from the whole planning process and designing a t-shirt to hooking up with crew and making an event website, that is the fun.”

Patrick loves the creativity and challenge of his ordeals, but his swim in the Bahamas will enable him to SEE his course like never before. “Although the course is 78 miles, the deepest point of the route is only 47 feet (14 meters), even if I will be swimming as much as 25 miles offshore. With the water clarity up to 100 feet, I will be able to see my progress.”

The expected 79°F (26°C) water in June will also make it less arduous than a less similar swim in colder water. But there is always a tradeoff. The high salinity of the water will literally attack the soft tissue of his mouth, tongue and lips, undoubtedly requiring him to swim with a searing pain in his mouth.

But Patrick is perfectly willing to accept the dark periods that he will unfailingly encounter when swimming for two straight days guided by a 44-foot catamaran based out of Nassau.

Over a 40+ hour swim, you are going to hit turbulence. My crew knows when I am hurt, or when I am just complaining.

I am working with Jen Schumacher. Her knowledge, not only as a channel swimmer, is really helpful to get through tough times with certain tools that she is helping me with.

Because in a long swim like this, you are going to feel good at times and then you will feel bad at times. It is learning how to maintain those good times last as long as possible.

But of course, I have no desire to push myself to the point of no return.

I want to show the joy and fun – and challenges – that we have out there

Matt Richardson, who has piloted other swims by Patrick, will take the helm once again as Patrick’s hand-picked crew and family is going to make this journey a real adventure.

I am really looking forward to the second night [of swimming],” explains Patrick about an effort that very few humans in history have willingly embarked upon. “I have already swum through one night, but not two. That is another level. I want to be in a place where everything is new. Every stroke that I take is further than I have ever swum before.”

With Schumacher’s help and Richardson’s guidance, Patrick will certainly get there.

Skip Storch, who has also swum non-stop for over 24 hours, describes the mindset of athletes like Patrick, “They place themselves in a frame of mind that is unimaginable to most humans. They will never give up at least mentally. They may be forced out by tides, currents, hypothermia, or injury, but they will achieve their maximum physiological potential. As they take their last stroke either at the finish or before being pulled out, they vow to not have one more stroke left. They will max out. They will have no más. They will give 100% and no less.”

Patrick explains from his perspective. “I don’t have a problem with how long it is going to take, I just want to get there. At 2.4 miles per hour, I can do this all day long, I can swim. But I want to back off a lot. I will have to flush out more lactic acid than I will be producing. I have to avoid going to muscle fatigue sooner than later.”

He will certainly slow his pace down, but that does not mean he will necessarily slow down. “I am always surprised how fast the rate of [arm] turnover is for long distance swimmers. I am working on my distance per stroke, trying to maximize it.”

But how does one train to be able to swim for 2 consecutive days and 125 kilometers?

I am swimming 60,000 yards per week, but I am increasing by 5,000 yards every week. During the [work] week, I am doing 8,000 yards per workout followed by a big swim on the weekends. I am increasing the distance every weekend swim.

Right now, the water in San Francisco is much colder than in the Bahamas, so for now, I am living the chlorinated life. I just swim, no sets. I am just in the water swimming back and forth in 30-minute sets. Everything revolves around 30-minute sets. That is also my feeding cycle

On June 24th, he will have hundreds of 30-minute sets under his swim cap. He will just string them all together now. For more information, visit The Long Swim here. To support The Long Swim, visit here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones