I have always lived near water. In Cape Town it is a 20 minute drive to the Atlantic seaboard, where the water is so cold, that the only people swimming are usually the very young - in wetsuits. Further along is Fourth Beach, Cape Town's equivalent to Bondi Beach, where the beautiful people go. No swimming mind you, as the water is still very cold, but certainly the place to be seen. Clifton is the next stop, and there is nothing beats having dinner on the beach after a long day at work. Sunset on Clifton beach is amazing, watching the sun sink so fast, rays dancing across the huge crashing waves. The salty spray on my face, and the fruity taste of a bottle of Simonsig Chenin Blanc on my tongue - is something I can never forget, whatever part of the world I may be in.
In Siena it was an hour and a half to the beach - not counting the 3 hours of traffic you had to put up with to get there in the first place! There too, swimming in the sea was secondary to the art of strolling up and down, or having drinks and chats with your friends at the little bars set up along the shore. Still, I did learn to swim properly and actually swam in the sea on Elba Island where you walk across some very pebbly beaches, and step straight into 4 metres of water. I learned to snorkel, and swam on lots of beaches like this around the island. Then another summer was spent on a yacht on the Emerald Coast. There too, I learned to jump off, straight into the crystal clear turquoise sea. The water is so clear, that you can actually see the sun lighting up the sea floor.
However, when we were living in the UK and Switzerland, I did not put a foot into the water, and so 10 years went by, until we moved to the US last year. Again, swimming was not a priority but running was. Signing up for the tri provided the opportunity to sort out my issues with biking and swimming in one go! In truth I did swim a few times at the gym in Geneva, but I did not really enjoy it, so after about the fifth time, I called it a day. Swimming seemed to be one of those things I would get around to, but not just yet. As my previous posts have indicated, I did not really train sufficiently for the swim leg of the triathlon, and even then most of the time was spent trying to get over my fear of deep water.
Today I went swimming for the first time after the tri, and guess what?! I actually concentrated on style and stroke without thinking about anything else, and for the first time ever, I actually thought about what I was doing in the water. I know I am going to have to take some lessons, as I would like to improve not only my stroke, but I wish to become a good swimmer.
I have always had an on-off relationship with the water, and now I think I am finally ready to make a commitment....I want our relationship to develop, I want to feel at ease and happy in the water and above all, one day I will go back to Geneva and swim in Lac Leman - after all, I have run around it a few times!