Meet the new crop of Swim4Good Swimmers–7 girls between the ages of 10 to 13 years old. A few months ago I put together a team of 12 kids to swim in the Belvedere lagoon. After the lagoon level was lowered for the winter, a few of them showed an interest in continuing to swim in open water, but now in the colder waters of the San Francisco Bay. It has been a rewarding experience for me to see them getting increasingly comfortable in swimming in 58F (14.4C) waters without a wetsuit, and to see how open water swimming builds their self-confidence and sparks their interest in undertaking future challenges. Here they are, in their own words:
Hi! I am Carolina and I’m 10 years old. I started swimming when I was four years old in Spain. This year, my dad, Mauricio Prieto, started an open water swimming team in Tiburon. We started swimming in the Lagoon, but then the lagoon got lowered so we decided to swim in the bay. The bay is really cold, but you get used to it when you start swimming some strokes. I really like swimming open water because when you are done swimming in freezing water, you feel really brave, and you feel like you can do anything. I think that swimming is a good sport because you don’t get hurt by it, and also because when you get used to the cold water, you can almost swim in any body of water. My objectives is to swim the escape from Alcatraz, and when I am fourteen, I will try to swim the Straight of Gilbraltar like my mom and dad did, although that might make me the youngest.
My name is Emily. I started swimming at four months old, but I started to swim competitively at age six with North Bay Aquatics. I am 1 second away from JO time for 50 free and 100 IM. I started open water swim in early October. I enjoy swimming in open water because I love swimming and this is a big accomplishment for me. I think it’s good for me to swim because it’s a low impact sport and it keeps me fit. In the future, I want to swim from Tiburon to Dolphin Club.
My name is Eve and I am 13 years old. I started swimming at a very young age, when I was a baby. I don’t swim on a team but I love to swim for fun. I basically started swimming open water when I was one because in the summer my family swims in the ocean a lot and and I swam with my parents holding me. When I was three I learned to swim by myself. I love to swim in open waters because you are so free and you can swim as far as you want. I also love to dive down to the ocean (or lagoon) floor and see what interesting stuff is down there. I think its good for me to swim because it excercises my body and it is also a very basic life skill that you use a lot. I would love to be able to swim more long distance and to be able to swim a little bit faster. I am so glad that I got to be a part of Swim4Good because it gives me a chance to swim in the ocean even in winter.
My name is Finley and I’m 10 years old. I’ve snorkeled in the Galapagos looking for Hammerhead Sharks, gone swimming at midnight in the Mediterranean, jumped off two story boat houses into a lake in Georgia and now I swim in the San Francisco Bay without a wetsuit! It all started with a pool and a big sister who taught me how to swim. When I was about seven I started swimming with the North Bay Aquatics swim team and also tried water polo this year! I’ve met some new friends along the way named the Prietos. They are big encouragers for my swimming. Mauricio Prieto started an open water swimming group for girls and invited me to join. After a few weeks of swimming in the Lagoon in Tiburon, Mauricio took me in the bay with his daughter Carolina and a few other girls. That weekend I went in the ice cold water WITHOUT A WETSUIT and swam about half a mile – and I haven’t looked back since. Now we regularly swim in Aquatic Park and we like to spread the word of open water swimming.
My name is Olivia. I have been swimming since I was six months old, but I started to swim competitively at age eight with North Bay Aquatics. I got my first JO time for 50 free in 2013 at 32:19. Open water swimming was introduced to me in early October of this year. I found a love for it because it wasn’t like swimming in the pool. It was a different experience that was always an adventure, not to mention how much colder it was! Swimming is good for me because it keeps me heathy and self motivated. The swim team matters, but in reality you are racing yourself. I like this because I can only compare my times or my progress to myself, and I am the only member on my team. In the near future, I want to swim from Alcatraz to the Dolphin Club. But, eventually want to swim the English Channel.
My name is Orla – I am 10 years old and I have been swimming since I was very small, in fact, like my sister Eve, I was born in the water. Every summer we are in Cape Cod and I do a lot of sea swimming and diving for fun, I love being in the water and all water creatures, I haven’t ever been on a swim team though. I began open water swimming when I started with my friend Carolina and her father Mauricio. We began in the lagoon where they live and now swim in San Francisco Bay which is quite chilly, but I don’t mind. I love open water swimming because I like to have a goal and it makes me feel like almost anything is possible. Its so different from being in a pool because you can’t put your feet down and you have to keep going. I am excited about training for new Open Water challenges.
Hi, my name is Skylar. I started swimming when I was really little and I started swimming competitively when I was 7. I am now 12 and on the Strawberry Seals swim team, and my favorite events are breast- stroke and IM. My family travels a lot and I really like swimming in oceans, lakes, rivers, and pools. Some of my favorites include swimming across Donner Lake, swimming in the Costa Brava (we lived in Girona, Spain for 2 months) and swimming in glacier water between 33 and 39° Fahrenheit in Canada. Open water swimming is my favorite thing to do because I love the way it makes me feel. When I am swimming, every thing going on in my life is nothing big compared to the big water, and the coldness of the water allows all worries to fade. I have many goals for open water swimming. Some of them include swimming the length of the golden gate bridge, swimming from Alcatraz to the Dolphin Club, and swimming the English Channel with Olivia Fee.