Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 2009

This past Saturday, I once again went down to the Bay Bridge to participate in the Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim --


But this year was a little different...

That's because Jack, my 12-year old son had decided to attempt the one-mile Bay Swim for the first time ever. Jack is a pretty good swimmer but he hasn't swum on a swim team in years so we decided to do it together -- and we'd been practicing -- a little...

The morning dawned beautifully for a swim in the Chesapeake Bay and the day started out perfectly...with me embarrassing Jack in public.


It's my full-time job and I take it seriously...(Oh happy day! My deodorant was working!)

My very great friend and neighbor, Kathleen, was also swimming the event with her daughter, Colleen, so we all rode down together on the Bay Bus aka our car.


Kathleen gave me this sushi swimsuit this year for my birthday.


It helps me swim really really fast...and yes, sure, I'm comfortable baring my belly on this public blogcast...

This was the first time for Jack to swim an open water swim so it was the first time for wearing a wet suit too. Here we are ready to roll...

Primed and Proud of coming from a long ancestry of coneheads...


Now, Jack and I had discussed the swim course. The fact that people would beat him over the head with their arms, swim over top of him, make a bunch of turbulence so he couldn't see where he was going (and, yes, he still wanted to do it...) --

So, our plan was to count five seconds and let everyone else go first and get all the splashing and turbulence out of the way. We had a PLAN and we even REHEARSED it ~ me counting to five seconds while he stood there and rolled his eyes...

OK, so it was time for us to get into the water...

Jack says, "Uhhhhhh, what's the course again, Mom?"


"Swim to the right of the channel marker and make a right turn at the fifth buoy -- then look for the next buoy, take another right and head for the big balloon and the crowd on the shore." (Notice I hadn't put on my goggles yet...)


"Oh, hey look, there's Daddy...smile for the camera, Jack!!"


"Oh no, here she goes again...get me outta here..." (Jack exits stage right.)


"OK, Jack. Come back. I promise. I'll be good. Just wave to Daddy."


And then the buzzer sounded and everyone started swimming! Except for me, because I hadn't pulled down my goggles yet! And, hey, wait a minute, Jack didn't wait to count for five seconds...


He was off like a shot -- swimming for dear life in an all-out 50-meter sprint pace -- Where the heck was he?


And then, all goofing aside, I started to worry and I swam as hard as I could. But I had to stop often and look up and even take off my fogged-up goggles to try and see where he was. I was an anxious wreck....and my heart was beating triple time. What if this freaked him out? What if he got pulled under by the Superman Swimming Warrior who plows through everyone in his path to win first place??


So, I sprinted/swam and stopped/looked and finally caught up to him at the Big Turn which was about halfway through the race.

Luckily, he was getting tired and had started to slow down because he had started off the race too strong. BUT, he wasn't struggling -- he wasn't dying -- he was doing great!

I completely relaxed after that. My breathing came under control. I had no trouble keeping track of him, I touched him every now and then to make sure he didn't get away, and we were able to swim together all the way to the finish line.


I got really choked up at one point when I thought of him out there fighting the current, the other swimmers, and himself, to finish the race. I was proud of him because he was doing it!! And it was really cool that we were doing it together...OK, enough of that mushy stuff...

"Where the @#$* is the finish line?"


And then we swam for home.


And this...This is my favorite picture of the day.


As he exited the water, the crowd on the shore was cheering and he loved it. 42 minutes after he started swimming, he was back on the shore, drinking a Sierra Mist...


Breakfast of Champions. (I don't buy them at home. They stunt your growth. And God knows it's working, because Jack is 5'9"! No growth stunting in my house, no sirree)

I adore the Potomac Paddlers who volunteer every year to patrol the waters and keep all the swimmers safe. I especially love it when they cluster around the last few swimmers and help bring them into shore.


My swimming friend, Anneliese, won first in her age group at 50 years old! Doesn't she look great? She's an amazing swimmer and left her walker on the sidelines to claim her prize. Sorry, Anneliese, I do love you...


And, as we headed back home across that beautiful bridge,


We were already making plans for next year. It's a great event and I'm so glad Jack got to experience it.

And many thanks to my husband Jim, the handsome Photographer, without whom this story would not have been possible. xoxo.

20 comments:

TattingChic said...

THAT is so totally AWEsome!!! What a very cool memory your son has for the rest of his life. You're a great Mom! :)

Lisa said...

Very cool! What a great experience for both of you!

Ati. Norway. said...

great story and compliments to both of you !!

Heather J. said...

Too cool! Looks like you both had lots of fun - I'm so glad you were able to do it together.

Some friends of ours were on their boat working as a rescue patrol that day - they said it was great!

Judy S. said...

Outstanding! Congratulations on a great finish!

Carol said...

What a wonderful!!! post. This is an amazing experience for you and Jack to share...the kind that cements relationships. I am so absolutely happy for you I have tears. And since Jack will probably read this..Jack you are awesome. O yes, you swam, but you did it with your mom and that was the best part of all.

And thank you Mr. Photographer. Your pics are great.

Cathy K said...

Great story, great pictures! What a wonderful experience for all of you. Congratulations to you and Jack!!! Hugs, Cathy

coral-seas said...

Oh my gosh, my heart was in my mouth. Shouldn't Jack have had a big flag attached to his saying "I'm
here, Mom"?

Well done Jack, great achievement. Well done, Mom for not freaking out.

Hope you have many more great swims together.

leilani said...

I can't swim but damn! You made this sound so exciting! What a heartbreakingly handsome son you have.

Elmsley Rose said...

That was so much fun, reading that!
May you continue, forever on,.

verobirdie said...

great story and pictures! compliments to the swimmers and the photograph!

Wanda said...

My hands were sweating and I was breathing in short gasps the whole time I was reading your story! I am so proud! I found myself almost crying at the end! Congratulations to you both! He is so grown up and...don't worry...he'll some day know that not only is it your full time job but it is a LIFETIME full time job!!!

Balwearie said...

WOOOOHOOO! Three cheers for you both.

Marty52 said...

SUCH a great post! Congrats to Mom, Jack and Mr. Photograper!!

FredaB said...

All I can say is Hoorah to the two of you. Jack for trying and you for letting him. Your heart was probably in your moth the whole time. The photo guy did a great job also.

Maybe I should keep my eye on this boy for that grandaughter of mine. She is very athletic and loves swimming. Little matchmaking here.

Hugs

FredaB

Robin said...

Totally amazing and beautiful story, photos and family! Never a dull moment in your life, is ther?!

Hugs and congrats,
Robin

Chris said...

Well done you two! You are a mom after my own heart. My son loves to roll his eyes at me.

AARP Rocks! said...

Great story! And thanks for not taking a picture of me in my wetsuit.

JoWynn Johns said...

Great, great story, Susan. I haven't forgotten your challenge to me. I'm in training. I'm doing 25 laps every morning. It's 110 laps for a mile. Maybe next year?

JoWynn Johns said...

Correction: it's 110 lengths, only 55 laps. I'm almost halfway there!

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