Swimmers, To The Water...

Swimmers, To The Water…

Jen King from California flew to the Cayman Islands to participate in the Flowers Sea Swim. She described her perspective of swimming with over 800 individuals in the one-mile swim on Seven Mile Beach.

Like swimmers around the world who compete in swims with hundreds of others, the experiences at the mass start are among the most memorable.

“The anxious waiting is over as the announcer tells us to move through the gates. The faster swimmers race towards the front to get a good position at the start. As we file through, the volunteers are doing a [final] head count to know how many people are entering the water.

Despite the cloud cover, the air is warm, and the anticipation emanating from the swimmers is palpable. I walk through the gate and step into the water. It feels chilly at first, but a welcome refreshment to the tropical heat. As I turn back to look at the gate, all I see is a mass of bright red, yellow and green swim caps hurriedly pushing themselves towards the water.

Swimming out away from the shore along the starting line, people tread water while chatting, stretching and adjusting their goggles and caps. The minutes slowly tick by as the seemingly never-ending line of swimmers line up in the water.

From my spot in the water, the throng of people have become so jumbled that I can barely make out the blur of the shoreline between the neon swimmer’s caps and cheering crowds beyond. Almost ten minutes pass by before all 800+ swimmers have made it to their spot in the starting line.

I fix my goggles one last time with a swipe of my thumb to clear out the fog. With a loud blast of the horn, arms and legs are flying…here we go!


Footnote: Jen King finished 97th overall in 27:31.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association