Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another Open Water Swimmer in the Family

Katie was adamant.  She was not getting in the lake.  But then she changed her mind.  
I'm not sure exactly what conversation went on inside her head but she changed her mind and filled out a form and walked right into Lake Erie.

This was my view at the beginning of the 1-mile open water swim in Lake Erie this past Saturday.  Ken has done this particular event for the past several years.  He likes the challenge of swimming out past the buoys & breakers (where we're normally allowed to swim) and swimming one-mile in open water while being tossed around in big waves.

Last year he was 3rd in his age group.  This year he met his biggest challenge yet... 
a 13 year-old who decided it was her turn to brave the lake.

We saw a few familiar, encouraging faces on the beach while we waited for the race to begin.  Katie was particularly encouraged by Rachel, a family friend who coached Katie a few summers ago. 
(By the way, Rachel won this race last year leaving all the boys eating her bubbles)

You may be asking yourself why Ken & I didn't just say no to her.  You need to know that Katie is an excellent swimmer.  She's on a swim team and she swims at least a mile every day during swim practice.  
We knew she was capable of completing this race.  

We also know Katie.  We know that once she puts her mind to a task, there's just no turning back.  She's not going to be satisfied until the task is complete.  

We've learned to watch her fly.  It's much easier than trying to hold her down.

Now, while we were all pretty confident that Katie could swim a mile, she had never done it in open water.  And open water swimming is different.  There's no big black line on the bottom to keep you swimming in a straight line.  No flip-turns every 25 yards to give you a little momentum.  And stopping to hang onto the wall for a moment isn't an option.

As Katie described it, "You just have to keep swimming.  
And the only one who can get you back to shore is you."

The organizers had set up big buoys along the course and swimmers were instructed to keep the buoys on their right side.  Ken & Katie decided to pick off buoys one at a time.  See the buoy- swim to it.  And they thought perhaps it was an optical illusion when it seemed like the third buoy was refusing to get any closer.

The buoys were drifting out into Lake Erie.

The one-mile swim that my brave girl agreed to ended up being closer to 2 miles.

(I'd like to note here that this is the sort of thing that gives a mama new grey hairs)

I couldn't have been happier when I saw her swimming towards the shore and then running up to the finish line.  (She's on the left in the picture below)

We headed for Bob Evans for some breakfast and celebration.  
I don't think I've ever seen her eat so many hotcakes in one meal!

She asked me if I was going to swim next year.  
I reminded her that she's the brave one.

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