This weeks 'Meet the SwimTrekker' is Jen from Tucson, Arizona, a open water fanatic who loves to combine her passion for swimming with world travel. With several SwimTreks already under her belt, she's on the lookout for her next great swim. Read on for her account of her years as a SwimTrekker!
Many people ask me how I got into open water swimming since I live in a desert. After competing in a few open water races in California, Hawaii and Mexico, I decided traveling a far distance to compete in a brief 2K – 5K event just wasn’t enough for me. I thought there must be something out there where I can travel and participate in multiple open water swims over the duration of a week or weekend.This led to my discovery of SwimTrek!
My first trip was to the Greek Cyclades in 2012 and I was not disappointed. SwimTrek provided me the opportunity to travel to countries I had always wanted to visit and participate in my favourite pastime with like-minded individuals. The following summer I did the Croatian Dalmatian Coast and next up was the Turkish Lycian Way. After falling in love with Turkey, I decided to return a few months later to do the Hellespont and Dardanelles Swim (Unfortunately, the race was postponed due to rough conditions that year, so we had to complete an alternate course.) I was lucky enough to participate in the British Virgin Islands SwimTrek in the Spring of 2017 before the hurricanes devastated the area and most recently I completed the Galapagos Islands trip, a true highlight of my open water swimming experiences.
It is so difficult to pick a most memorable moment of the Galapagos SwimTrek. Circumnavigating Daphne Island and seeing dozens of sharks was unforgettable. With the slight current and abundance of wildlife it was like floating in an aquarium. Frolicking with the sea lions was also a once in a lifetime experience. In the Galapagos when a swimmer or guide spots a shark, they make a hand signal or yell to the others. Rather than quickly swimming to the boat, everyone sprints to where the shark is: definitely counter-intuitive but amazing to observe the sharks.
At home I swim on a Masters team in a pool. All of the pools are outdoors in Tucson, so when the weather drops below freezing in the winter, I need to have a SwimTrek scheduled to keep me motivated to swim through the colder months. I’m hoping to go to the Maldives next!