I visited the southern UK with my parents last March. We visited the coast where I took a photo of the English Channel and posted it on Facebook with the caption, “I’m looking across the English Channel now wondering if I have what it takes to swim across to France. It’s 21 miles across at its narrowest point and the fastest swimmer made it across in a little over seven hours and the slowest one was 27 hours. Average water temperatures in the summer are 14-18 degrees Celsius.”
My high school swim coach Jen saw it and said, “If you are seriously considering, let me know — I have many friends who have done this swim (yes I hang out with weirdos)!”. Let’s start with something a bit more realistic I said. Jen encouraged me to participate in the annual Wayland Three Mile Swim which she organizes. The race takes place in Lake Cochituate, a small body of water in Wayland, Massachusetts which borders my hometown of Wellesley.
So I trained religiously for three months. A couple of days before June 19, I took a bus from New York City back to Wellesley for the open water swim that would start at 7:30AM.
My parents were very supportive of my endeavor and even woke up with me at 5AM to come watch. We drove fifteen minutes to Wayland Town Beach. I met and hugged Jen and my other high school coach Sandy both of whom I haven’t seen in many years. We waited for a boat to setup the large neon-colored, inflatable buoys in the lake.
There were twenty swimmers registered for the three mile race. I didn’t have any expectations for myself. I never swam continuously for such a long distance before (I was a sprinter in high school), so my base goal was to simply finish within two hours, the maximum time allowed.
- I did better than I thought I would. 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- I had my ass handed to me by 50-year-old men and teenage girls. (Jeff Naylor, age 57, came in second place with a time of 1:05:21. Jeff, what are you on? #lifegoals)
- I’d definitely do it again. The water and weather were perfect. The lake tasted great. I know because I drank half of it.
Here are some photos.