"You do realise this SwimTrek is a swift swim"! That sentence leapt from the email. What have I done I asked myself. My husband, a keen swimmer was wanting to go on a SwimTrek holiday. Some people choose walking holidays, some choose to cycle (activities I enjoy) but my husband wanted to swim! “I don’t swim” I said. “You’ll love it!” replied my husband!
I did think it sounded great, puttering around on a boat in the blue waters of Sardinia, enjoying the scenery whilst my husband swam. Then I found out I couldn't go on the boat unless I was a swimmer! I'd be left at the hotel on a small island all day by myself.
So I decided to take up swimming.
To start I couldn't swim the length of a 50 metre pool, so I quickly switched to the 25 meter pool and took a few lessons. I'd recently retired so had time to get to the pool each day and swim. Slowly. Up and down. I was slow. So I added fins. I persisted. I started to enjoy it.
I counted down the days till we left. I checked the website describing the swims we would be doing - 2-3km a day... Each day. Every day for 6 days!
Then we had to email our swim times over 1km. Proudly I entered 32 mins. I was quite chuffed that I could even swim a kilometre. Then that email arrived. A Swift Swim. As opposed to their usual leisurely slow swims - let's enjoy the scenery type swim. I was the slowest by far. Longer distances for more experienced swimmers. I replied quickly saying I would wear fins, would improve daily and know when to get out of the water. They agreed. I'm not sure if was pleased or not.
We arrived on the beautiful island of La Maddalena and I felt physically ill during the orientation chat, when meeting our fellow swimmers and telling “our swim story”. I was the least experienced swimmer and despite my husbands constant encouragement started to wonder about my stupidity at joining the swim.
On the first day I hyperventilated during the first orientation 300 metre swim. It was only our beautiful, caring, encouraging guide, Italian Francesco, my fellow swimmers and my husband who kept encouraging me that I did some of the afternoon swim.
Then slowly and surely I got in to swim a little after the other swimmers had started. About 3 km after! Then day two I swam about 2 1/2 km. The next day I jumped in earlier and sure enough covered about 3 1/2. And each day it increased and as it did so did my confidence and my enjoyment. The swims were challenging, safe, but most of all fun. The waters were clear and beautiful and I would hate to have missed out.
At the end of the week’s fantastic farewell dinner I was presented with Francesco’s ‘Capo Bianco’ for the most improved swimmer. What an honour! The friends we made on that first trek have remained friends and we have swum together several times, included a crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar – from Spain to Morocco. No I didn’t do that!
Who would have guessed that 3 years later with 2 more SwimTreks to Sardinia and gorgeous Greece I would become a very keen swimmer. I've joined a local squad and though still not very fast and still sometimes using fins, I actually love swimming. On July 2nd we start our week-long SwimTrek in Montenegro. I’ll keep you posted on my swim journey. I’ll be sending in a post to this blog on my return. Read along as I swim!
Who said you were too old to take up a new sport?