Open water swimming is best when shared with loved ones, says SwimTrek founder Simon Murie
I am squeezing in writing this month’s article while I am recceing a quite idyllic location. To put you in the picture, the sun is now setting, turning the sea to salmon pink while I sit on a white sand beach with palm trees all over me and islands dot the horizon. As much as I’m enjoying the spectacular swimming and island life while I am there, I also don’t feel fully content; in fact, something is missing and that is people to share it with. Sure, I can talk to the person sitting beside me about where they are heading next and what they did today, but sharing your experiences with loved ones is a much greater contentment and gave me an idea for this article.
I first met my wife, Lou, just under 25 years ago. While I was a keen swimmer, she was more at home on land either cycling or running. Since starting SwimTrek over 15 years ago, I have not surprisingly spent a significant amount of my time both swimming and travelling. Initially I would go on my own, but over the years the only time we would get to spend substantial time together would be if she accompanied me on some of my trips. It became a standing joke between us that the only holidays we ever went on together were SwimTrek recces.
Once on the trips, she started swimming herself and eventually joined me in recceing some of the swims too. A case, I guess, of “if you can’t beat them, join them!” Over the years her swimming has improved immensely, and she has started going on swimming trips by herself with friends and has got into competitive open water races, including two attempts at the length of Windermere and a successful English Channel Relay.
Our kids have both been exposed to open water swimming from an early age and generally enjoy accompanying Dad on some recces and trips. We always look out for a nice short island or rock hop that they can do to feel that they are also part of the journey. That sense of achievement when successfully swimming between two landmasses can be the same whether they are 20 kilometres apart or just 20 metres!
Where once my swimming gear would have been relegated to the spare drawer in the spare room, our combined equipment now shares one full half of our utility room; with swim suits, swim snorkels, fins, goggles and a countless number of swim hats littering the place.
Our family holidays and my swim recces are still somewhat blurred but more and more it’s not always me that likes it that way. So while swimming in majestic open water locations is wonderful, (and for the record I still really enjoy finding new locations) the ability to experience it with your close family is the real icing on the cake.