The world of open water swimming is weird and wonderful to say the least, or shall I say weirdly wonderful! As an escort kayaker for open water swimmers I always marvel at the fact that so many of you take to the open waters with nothing more than a swim suit, goggles and a swim cap and find such delight in facing extreme conditions and monumental challenges.
I take great pride in what I do as a support kayaker, having participated in twenty Catalina Channel crossings and numerous other events, and have made many new friends; not only swimmers but those who support, love and coach them. Safety and constant attention to detail during a swim cannot be underestimated and it is imperative that the kayaker understands the intensity of the job they have been trusted to do. Kayakers are the ears, eyes, point of reference and perhaps the only source of contact for the swimmer during a race, a channel crossing or a training swim so it is imperative that we are trained to recognize signs of distress and how to spring into action when, and if difficulties arise. It is also our extreme privelege to be next to the swimmers when all is well and the swim is going to plan, which is probably most of the time. Before a swim, among other things, I will explain to the swimmer that I will be their lane line and like the line in the pool I will not budge! I will set the course and they will set the pace and this is very important for both swimmer and kayaker to understand. The kayaker is the swimmers best friend since they will be pilot, navigator, feeder, cheerleader and first line of defense in the event of trouble…the only thing the swimmer should have to do is, SWIM!
I fly my bright yellow “SWIMMER” flag proudly as I paddle the open waters. As I so often say to my swimmers….you are a lone swimmer but with me by your side you will never BE alone!
Thanks to Mauricio and friends for opening your Open Water Swim arms to this California Kayaker! Best of luck to all of you and especially best of luck to those training to swim Gibraltar!!! Keep up all the great work with Worldreader, it’s a noble cause!
Categories: Guest Posts