Cook Strait Swim, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Impact of Mother Nature

Years ago when I started training for my very first marathon swim, I never thought that "Mother Nature" could possibly have a major influence in the outcome of a swim. After all, I trained very hard and my swim started with near "perfect" weather conditions......what could go wrong? I quickly learned that I was a bit naive. I thought that if I focused on taking "one stroke at a time" I would eventually reach the finish line..... I was wrong. In my 2008 English Channel attempt, "Mother Nature" provided very strong currents off the coast of France....my swim ended 1.7 miles from France. It was very disappointing not to complete that swim. I later learned that many well known marathon swimmers such as Penny Palfrey, Allison Streeter, Julie Bradshaw, Ned Denison, ....all have one thing in common....they had to abort a swim due to "Mother Nature", too. At the beginning of a swim, weather conditions can be perfect and suddenly turn to very treacherous seas. Safety of swimmer and crew is a priority. They learned from their experience and planned for another day. On their return, they succeeded in finishing their swim. My return to England in 2009 I saw the wrath of Mother Nature again.....and returned to Maine without a swim. Again, disappointed but I learned from my previous experience not to get discouraged. I plan to attempt the English Channel in August of 2011. When I swam the Strait of Gibraltar earlier this year, Mother Nature gave me a "big" surprise....wind, current and tides in my favor. I expected to finish my swim in about six and half hours but much to my surprise I set the new U.S. Woman's record with a time of 3 hours and 28 minutes. Again, another learning experience ...Mother Nature can sometimes have a positive impact on the outcome of a swim. If you are planning a marathon swim, prepare that "Mother Nature" may possibly decide the outcome of your swim. And realize that many of the world famous marathon swimmers had to abort a swim and attempt it another day. So, good luck with your training and hope that Mother Nature will be on your side.

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