I have not written about my open water swimming (“OWS”) events in a while. That is because I took a timeout from swimming after my swim at La Bocaina last October. It was supposed to be a short break to rest, but it became an extended pause due to multiple reasons having to do with the flu, a bike accident, and year-end workload. On the positive side, this gave me time to reflect on 2017 and also to plan for 2018.
Looking back, 2017 was a great year for me in terms of swimming. I swam multiple OW events, some short ones, and some really long ones (ca. 10km or longer); some in lakes, and others in the ocean (and even in a regattas course!). And of course, lots swimming in the pool (short course). Overall, I swam about 500 km in total (events + daily training).
I also learned a lot about OWS in 2017. Although I had been a competitive swimmer in my teens and twenties, I never really did a lot of OW swimming (only a few short OW events in pre-season). 2017 was full of personal “firsts”, including my longest continuous swim to date (17.5 km). I learned a lot about swimming in the ocean vs. lakes; with and without wetsuit; at my own easy pace (Benidorm) vs. having to follow the fast group (La Bocaina). Above all, I learned that I can do it. Seriously, I was not 100% sure that I could do it when I first attempted Lago D’Orta (14 km) in June.
I also met other fellow OW swimmers, who are very enthusiastic about the sport, and who introduced me to new events I would not think of swimming. It turns out there’s many other people out there who also got bitten by the same crazy bug.
As for my fundraiser for the Red Cross Emergency Aid projects, I ended the year with donations just short of EUR 1000. I am humbled and extremely grateful to all my donors, large and small. I definitely want to keep this fundraiser going in 2018, which brings me to the planning and goals for this year:
Some of the events I swam last year will always be special to me, and I will try to repeat them on an annual basis if possible. However, I also want to take on new challenges, push a little further, find out where the limit is. There are also some OWS events that happen to take place on the same weekend, forcing me to choose which one I do in 2018 and which one I leave for 2019. Moreover, there are some ‘solo’ swims that I would like to do at some point (Straight of Gibraltar, English Channel, Lake Constance Three-Country Crossing, Circumnavigating Manhattan Island…), but these require lots of planning and more experience in OWS. ‘Solo’ swimming is a whole different level. All in all, my tentative list of events for 2018 is:
- April 15: IX Travesía Santa Faz, 9 km, Alicante, Spain
- May: TBD
- June 16: VII Batalla de Rande – Trofeo Carlos Conde, 27 km, Islas Cies to Isla San Simón, Spain
- July: TBD
- August 4: Austria Open Cup Series Hallstättersee, 10 km, Halsstättersee, Austria
- August 25: Desafìo Islas Cíes, 10 km, Islas Cíes, Spain*
- September 8-9: European Long Distance Swimming Masters Championships, 5 km, Bled, Slovenia
- Mid October: Oceanman Benidorm, 9.3 km, Benidorm, Spain
- Late October: La Bocaina, 15 km, Lanzarote to Fuerteventura, Spain
I will provide more information on each of the events in due time. *Note: I may end up not doing this one since I will already have done the Batalla de Rande swim by this time (same location), and it is within weeks of the European Masters Championships.
With regards to my objectives for my Red Cross fundraising, I hope these events will help me raise enough awareness to inspire more and more people to donate to the Red Cross through my fundraiser. I will use this blog to share any developments, and hopefully maximize donations.
Lastly, since there are a limited number of events, and there will not be a lot of activity to write about in between, I am setting another objective that will carry throughout the year:
I hope to leverage this eye-catching number in order to publicize my fundraiser on a regular basis, adding updates on my progress (note: I’m currently at 1.6% of this goal YTD).
If you’d like to learn more, or support my fundraising, please share and/or visit my fundraising page (bit.ly/SwimDonate). While you’re there, consider making a donation. Every bit helps. 100% of the money goes to the Red Cross Emergency Aid project. All of my costs (traveling, registration fees, gear, etc.) comes out of my pocket.