Caren Ware's Blog

September 6, 2011

Strokes not strides today! Meet some brave young ladies.

Filed under: fitness — Caren Ware @ 9:05 pm

CALMER SURF! WHEW

Sunshine for the kids waves!

The 82ndAnnual Oceanside Pier Swim was more than a splash; it was definitely surf’s up.  The past few days have brought 20 foot surf to the California coast.  Add that with two great white shark sightings in that same surf, and you would think there would be every reason to stay out of the water.  Did not daunt avid swimmers and paddle boarders.  It was just another day at the beach to hundreds who swam or stroked their way around that infamous pier.   I had very little time to take notice of the adventurers as they fought to get beyond the breakers.  We were sending our own waves wirelessly from starts to the finish.

wild waves. wild weather

I did keep my eye on the younger kid wave, and had to marvel at the gang that dove toward those incoming swells with confidence and fortitude.  This was their backyard.  Their playground. Their greatest benefit for having a Californian beach as home.  They were skilled in the ocean by experience and exposure. 

One of the lead swimmers in that kid pack caught my eye.  She was looking back toward the shore.  The lifeguards who had been swimming so attentively with the pack were busy.  They had to bring some of the kids back to shore.

A girl that was clearly one of the stronger swimmers was swimming back.  That didn’t make sense. Not until I saw her swimming up to another swimmer. Treading water she started helping this participant back to shore.  Tatyanna Barr, an Oceanside Middle Schooler said she heard, “Help me.  Please help me.  I’m in trouble.”  And crying.  She never considered that turning back would lose her  first place position. The fact she was winning did not matter. There was someone in distress.  Now there is  TROPHY character.  First place in my book.  Thank you, young, but mature Tatyanna for having what it takes to sacrifice recognition for reaction.

I got to discover that Tatyanna and her family are very involved in swimming.  They volunteer at helping other swimming events and the California Ironman.  Tatyanna enjoys swimming and basketball, and giving.  When asked what she wants to do, ironically she said BE A LIFEGUARD.  Befitting!

Tatyanna...a Lifeguard thank you.

And speaking of swimmers, remember MEET MADISON.  She was there.  I got a chance to meet her entire supportive family.  They are fun.  It takes a brave kind of young person to be thrilled to try an ocean swim.  She said she was testing pre race advice.  The advice was to get in the water.  Feel the shock of it.  Play around in it and warm up in it. (If you can call swimming in cold water ‘warming up’).  And then you are already acclimated for the sprint down the beach and the surf ahead.  This helps dissipate the chance of hyperventilating, over breathing, or panic seizing in when hitting the water.

I can attest to the panic.  One of my first ocean swim triathlons I stood on dry ground not wanting to get cold.  When I raced into the water I was overtaken by the inability to catch my breath.  I had to flip over on my back and take precious racing minutes to calm my heart rate down.  I was told that training in a pool in a swim suit didn’t prepare me for the tug of the wetsuit on my neck and the pressure on my lungs.  I felt like I was being choked even floating on my back.  It IS a panic feeling.  I have seen even trained, fit triathletes experience this breathing panic in the water.  Getting in and getting used to the temperature and weight of the water in a pre- race, calm manner does seem like good advice to me.

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