Finding the love for swimming – Alina Warren – #TeamSelkie

#TEAMSELKIE  6th July 2017

I have recently found a love for the open water, but I have been swimming out in the open water for years. Surely somebody who commits over 12 hours per week to something must love it. Of course – I have motivation, but I lost the love.

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Open water swimmers are considered slightly mad, and in my experience, people are often surprised by what I do. Because of this, people ask questions like ‘what’s the furthest you’ve ever swam?’, ‘have you swam the channel?’, ‘what the next big challenge?’  People are friendly and mean no harm by their questions, and actually, most of the time, I’m really keen to talk about swimming. However, in the past couple of years I began to turn these questions into pressure and expectations. As an open water swimmer, and like most of you I’m sure, we have huge expectations on ourselves. It’s true it’s a team sport, but the solitude of our game means we spend hours in our own minds, pushing ourselves and trying not to let our mind talk us out of things. It’s so easy to turn something we once used to do because it was ‘fun’ into a big, scary and mind boggling game.

After I swam the Great Glen Way, I had achieved one of my biggest goals, and it will no doubt stay one of my biggest achievements my whole life. What was a surprise to me after this event was just two days after, I had my first question asking me what the next challenge was. I immediately felt I ought to search for the ‘next big swim’. There seems to be no time to take in the joy of completing something you once sat and eagerly planned for months.

A couple of years later, I haven’t done another ‘big swim’, but I have made many smaller achievements, ones that go unnoticed to many but are still important. I have had to learn to remember why I started swimming. The feeling of the water, the love of the solitude, not the fear, the fresh water, not the cold, and the personal accomplishments rather than my minds expectations from others.

We all started swimming one day…..Remember why.

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