An email I received prompted me to take this journey back in time to Distance Week 2012 and that very first day at Sandycove. I am glad I sat down and wrote it, seeing it all so vividly in my mind’s eye once again. It’s good to look back, now and then, and to remember where you came from so that you can appreciate where you are and celebrate where you are going…
The truth? I felt like the one mere mortal dwarfed by the shadows of the gods of swimming.
I had heard the tales of cold water endurance, seen pictures of the Distance Week swims, and listened in rapt wonder at successful English Channel ventures. The very soul of the extreme doesn’t burn any brighter than it does in the swimmers at Sandycove.
On that first day, I stood listening to Ned Denison give his introductory welcome to all of us 2012 Cork Distance Week participants. I can’t remember the statistics and numbers of successful Sandycove Island Swimmers who had crossed the English Channel, but I remember Ned saying that the Island was magic and the water around it was lucky. He encouraged us to take advantage of it. Despite my shyness and propensity to feel awkward and rather intimidated, I couldn’t help thinking that that was why I flew 3,000 miles, spent however many dollars, and took all this time off work – to take advantage of whatever this place and these people, whom I so admired, could offer me. I wanted to learn. I wanted to swim. I just wanted whatever I could get out of every opportunity I was given.