What an amazing day filled with fun, friends and swimming for The 100x100s Swimtacular, a fundraiser for my English Channel attempt in August of 2017. After months of planning, I was so excited the night before I could hardly sleep. I woke up extra early to double check everything, make sure I had everything packed, had the snacks ready, had my festive suit ready to swim in, and a smile on my face. Check, it was 4:30am, I’m in my car and ready to go! I get to the pool early, drink my pre-swim shake and eat a few pieces of toast, the doors open, suit, cap and goggles on, in the water and swimming just after 5:00am.
The water felt amazing! It was 29 degrees outside, pitch black, and I could see the moon and stars when I did backstroke for my warm-up. I had the pool to myself and loved it, gliding through the crystal water thinking of what I had hoped would be a super fun event. About an hour later some more people entered the water, I had a good stroke going, and then I started to see some of the people come in early for the Swimtacular. It was super exciting to know that people came to the pool early to make sure they got the 10,000 yards in before the 11:00am stop time. Before I knew it 7:00am had rolled around the corner, I was 7,000 yards in and time to get out and get ready for the Swimtacular!
People started arriving around 7:30am to the lobby, they talked, smiled, mingled with old friends and made new friends. You could feel the energy growing in the air. Just before 8:00am, people got changed, went out to their lanes, stretched and jumped in. They were off and the Swimtacular began!
As the event went on, I saw people not only working hard, but having fun. People worked with their lane mates to push each other harder, further, and faster than they had ever swam before. There were people of all different ages, swim backgrounds, and goals. They had so many colorful caps that with the frigid air of the winter and music, it looked like little presents swimming through the water. The most important thing to me was the smile on the face of each swimmer as they worked to make and exceed their goal. As people got out they couldn’t believe what they accomplished. People not even involved with the swim were asking questions and couldn’t believe how many people were swimming. In addition, we had several people that had taken time out of their day as deck support, taking pictures and video of the Swimtacular participants, cheering, and supporting the swim.
Reflecting on the event, I feel so fortunate to have so many great friends and know so many wonderful people that want to support my goal of swimming the English Channel. I look at the love that it took to support and swim for three hours, the new friendships made, and the money raised all because people wanted to share in this incredible journey. Thank you will never be enough for everyone who attended, did satellite swims, and donated. Collectively, we swam 267,000 yards on December 23, 2016, the yards and donations are still coming in. The warm and well wishes will all be taken with me on a copy of my board to English as a reminder of all the people that have made the journey possible. Every stroke of the way, each hard moment of the swim, I’ll have everyone to remember and thank for the inspiration to get me through. Thank you, with hugs and love, Melissa.