Last Saturday, me and my friends Betsy, Nikki, Noel, Tyrone, and David decided to get (more than) our feet wet by joining the Hamilo 358 Open Water Swim Competition. 358, by the way, stands for: 3k, 5k, and 8k…. which were the swim distance options. Except for Noel, who had already done an 8k swim in Guimaras, Iloilo, a couple of years back, this was definitely unknown territory for us… swimmer or not.
It was daunting to say the least, but even though we were terrified, the mere thought of venturing so far out–unprotected at that–in the ocean was also very alluring somehow. How were we going to know we weren’t going to cramp?–we didn’t know how to answer that for sure. How were going to eat?–various hiding places for gels. How were we going to drink?–okay, we would be surrounded by water, no need to tell me that…but drinking water it isn’t!
It was another lesson in self-discovery for sure. Everyone was apprehensive as we lined up on the beach, and the energy was more subdued than my normal triathlon starts…no use in sprinting in the initial stages here. It was going to be a loooooong swim. The view was breathtaking, and Hamilo Cove is worth the drive, but I could hardly appreciate it just then. Without much ado, off we went, and I struggled to find somebody to swim with. Lucky, lucky me–Tony seemed to be swimming the exact pace that I wanted! I cannot thank Tony enough for being such a gentleman and my surprise saviour that day! I just didn’t want to be alone and I followed his lead half the time.
Thousands of high elbows, dozens of small sea creature bites, and gulps of saltwater later, we finally returned to shore. We smiled at each other, and strangely enough I felt fresh and highly energetic. We did it! We were now certified bad a@@, long distance, open water swimmers.
I want to thank Guy Concepcion and his group for organizing this event. The very reason I started doing triathlons is because I could not find anything to join as an older swimmer. Now that problem is solved. I cannot wait for the next one!!!