The sun was shining, and the sea and winds were calm. Carol was keeping time, Becky and Meli were there to help with my feeds. My dad snapped pictures at every lap that I completed. The smiles and excitement that each face wore are far more memorable than any of the miles swam. I thought I was going to use the entire 6 hours that are allotted to each solo swimmer, so Kyle didn’t show up until a bit later. That’s ok though. He saw me swim miles 9 and 10. I finished the La Jolla Cove Swim Club 10 mile Diabetes Swim/ Relay in 4 hours and 34 minutes.
Throughout the swim Becky offered me some simple coaching “stretch it out” she’d say. “These first two miles are just your warm up”. “Do you have a good rythym going? Ok, then hold it these next 6 miles”. Meli offered me my feeds and her expert enthusiastic cheerleading.
At mile 9 Meli explained that Becky was taking over my feeds and I thought that meant Meli was leaving. I was so sad. I loved seeing her smiling face and hearing her voice bubbling over with excitement. Nope! She was getting in! Swimming two miles next to one of my favorite swimmy friends at the end of that long swim was the best. She smiled and dove under the water. Having fun and enjoying being held gently in the water as I had been doing all morning. At mile 10 my right shoulder started to hurt. I could still pull and swim though, so I knew it wasn’t anything too terrible. I thought a lot about yoga and breathing. My thoughts slipped away from the pain and onto finishing. I was really doing this. After this swim I was practically half way from Catalina to the mainland.
When we finished my dad put his hand heavily on my shoulder and I thought I might fall over. Then I went and showered and my body temperature dropped and I shivered as I washed my hair and used conditioner for the first time in 3 days. The chatter at the event and excitement were palpable. “You swam the whole thing by yourself? Do you already have a channel under your belt?” One man asked. I told him I was training for a solo channel crossing next year and this swim was the next step in my training.
I changed in the bathrooms and listened as other swimmers talked about the fun they’d just had. Then I met Becky, Carol and Jo down on the sand. They congratulated me on my swim and I told them how much I appreciated them being there.
The week after the swim was kind of weird. I was supposed to be resting and recovering, but it was hard. There was so much mental build up to the swim and then…? It was done. I didnt know what I was supposed to do. “Just go have fun,” kevin told me.