This past weekend, Rebecca and I planned a 10 mile swim with my cousin Maddy escorting us in a kayak. We arrived in Marina Del Rey around 6 AM on Sunday and weather was warm with clear skies. The current was still flowing north so we knew we were going to have to fight it on the way back.
We entered the water right at the Marina Del Rey jetty and when I was about up to my knees in the water I saw a large stingray swim past so I reminded Maddy and Rebecca to shuffle their feet. As we started heading towards the Venice pier, I felt smooth and strong in the cool water. After we rounded the Venice pier, Maddy gave us our first feed and I was still feeling strong in the water. I really felt like I was flying in the current and we kept heading towards the Venice rock pile and the Santa Monica pier.
Soon we were passing the Tower 26 buoy and heading towards the Santa Monica Pier. I started to get a little nervous because I’d never actually swam anywhere north of the pier. Up to this point all my training had taken place on the southside of the Santa Monica Pier. We rounded the pier staying clear of the fishing lines and decided to try swimming outside of the rocks that are remnants of the old harbor and old pier. We were pretty far out at this point and I was starting to get a little nervous so I stayed really close to Maddy in the kayak. After we had passed the rocks, it began to get cooler.
We kept swimming north and eventually reached the ocean in front of the Annenberg Beach House and stopped for a feed. At this point Rebecca checked her watch and said we had gone about 5 1/4 miles and we had been in the water about two hours and 15 minutes. So we turned around and immediately realized that we were fighting the current. It seemed to take forever to get back to the Santa Monica Pier, even though we stayed inside the rocks this time. Maddy said a lifeguard on the pier yelled at us to stay away but I was oblivious and just enjoying how beautiful everything looked and how great I felt in the water.
We turned a little bit toward shore and kept swimming and eventually we were even with the Tower 26 buoy and took another feed at this point. We were about 3 1/2 hours into the swim now and I was feeling great. I was reminded why i choose to do this sport and felt altogether wonderful in the water. However this soon changed as it took forever to reach the Venice Pier. I still felt pretty strong, though, and we pressed on eventually rounding the Venice rock pile and heading towards the pier.
The last mile from the Venice Pier back to the marina Del Rey breakwater is always the most miserable part of the swim. It is just a mile but it feels like it takes an hour and there are no good landmarks along the shore so it feels like you’re never moving. You can see the bottom a lot of the time but we kept swimming and eventually we were near the breakwater!
Overall, this was probably one of the strongest and also the most enjoyable training swims I’ve had this whole summer. We swam for five hours and 5 minutes and covered almost 11 miles in distance. That’s pretty good considering we had one or two stops along the way. I am so grateful to Maddy for being our fearless navigator and also for Rebecca for keeping me company and being my training buddy this whole summer.
I have a few more long training swims planned before I leave for England and am feeling very good about my training. After that I get to begin tapering for my swim. I am looking forward to the rest of my training and cannot wait to see what I can accomplish.