Catalina Channel Swim Preview

I’m going to swim The Catalina Channel tomorrow, you guys! Obviously there will be a post after the swim, but this is just a quick, little update about how I’m feeling the day before.

How am I feeling?

People keep asking me this one and I have to stop to check–it’s hard to describe. The best answer is that I’m feeling “amped”. It’s just a lot–a lot of energy and sometimes it feels excited and other times terrifying to the point of tears. I don’t think I’ve felt this way before. I think I like it and I’m pretty sure this is what I signed up for.

Wants and Not-Wants

Thinking back to the day I called The Bottom Scratcher, my chartered escort boat and put a deposit down on the swim, I recall wanting to experience the ocean by being in it. By being in it for ten or so hours. At night. I had read about the phosphorescence in other’s blog posts–the water lighting up as your arms enter and disturb tiny organisms in the water. I had heard of pods of dolphins playfully accompanying swimmers and pictured myself facing the challenging sting of jellyfish to discover what I’m made of. The ocean is a big deal and I want to be a part of it. I want to feel small, because I am small in the grand scheme of things. I want to be in the wild, where things are real, where there is no black line, no concrete walls. Heck, there’s not even a shoreline to be seen. I want to move up and down with the waves, even if it means I puke, as many channel swimmers often do. I don’t want there to be predators of the size that would look at me as potential food. I don’t want to be in any kind of danger, whatsoever. I don’t want to feel panic symptoms that make me want to stop, tread water and look around. I don’t want the scary thoughts that are already bombarding my mind. But real life isn’t an Amazon order where you just point and click at the items you want and scroll past the ones you don’t want. I signed up for this, knowing what I was getting into. And also, this is my first channel crossing so I really have no idea what I’m getting into at all.

A Solid Crew

The best thing I have going for me right now is a very solid crew. Here they are, walking through San Pedro like the rockstars they definitely are.

My boyfriend, Dan will be the crew chief, because he knows me best and has done so many swims with me already. He’s solid in an emergency and solid in a non-emergency. I know I can trust and count on him no matter how I’m feeling during the swim. Experienced marathon swimmer, Jamie Proffitt will be the deck guy, fill in kayaker, social media updater and buddy swimmer, which means he can swim up to three, one hour periods with me (excluding the first hour, which I must swim alone). Jamie’s optimistic attitude had me talked out of all my fears and doubts before we even got to the airport. They will return, no doubt, but I have only to make it through that first hour until he will be cruising along with me for hour #2. Then there’s Kristine Senkier, about as solid and self-less person as you could ever hope for on a long swim like this. We swam together almost daily through the winter of 2017, before END-WET, so she’s already seen me grumpy from fatigue. She’s paddled some of my training swims and was Jamie’s paddler when he did SCAR. She’s also a tough, resilient and fast swimmer in her own right. This is an all-star crew and there’s a comfort with having people I know well and trust around me. When I think about them, the fear shifts to excitement and I just can’t wait. So wish me well, friends, and stay tuned for the story after the swim.

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