“Fight your fears and you’ll be in a battle forever. Face your fears and you’ll be free forever.” This quote perfectly described my experience in an open water swimming last November 17-18, 2018 at Bus Stop Dive Resort, one of the best diving spots in Bauan, Batangas.
I have been open about my swimming lesson which is a part of my preparation for my freediving class, and I decided to enroll because I wanted to be more confident when swimming in deep water. Last November 17-18, 2018, I got the opportunity to join Swimtravel PH in an open water swimming so let me share with you what happened.
It was my first time joining a group tour. I mean, my first time joining alone in a tour. I knew no one from the group except for my swimming coach, but I still pushed through with my plan because I was confident that all other joiners were friendly and easy to get along with (based on my experiences in swimming class).
Few days before our tour, our coach, Coach Griin, created a group for all those who were joining to remind everyone about the tour. She also gave instruction on how to get to the resort via public transportation. Since I will be bringing Hiro (my car), I offered service to others who would like to join me. Unexpectedly, many of them expressed their interest. I was like a dog with two tails because I knew that being with them on my way to the resort will make all of us feel comfortable with one another.
We left Buendia at around 4:00 AM and arrived at the resort parking area at 6:30 AM. We were supposed to start the swimming session at 7:30AM but some will be coming a little late so we had to wait for them.
It was 9:00 AM when we officially started our swimming. Our goal was to swim to the ring buoy without any lifevest. All of us were having a second thought if we can make it because it was placed far from the shore. Apart from the distance, what also gave me a second thought of reaching the goal was my fever. I was not feeling well during that time and was just taking paracetamol for me to get better. I was feeling cold and I couldn’t swim well, but I decided not to stop. Fortunately, I was able to reach the buoy. We all made it! Some of us kept swimming without any floater. I was trying to do the same, unfortunately, my body did not want to cooperate any longer. I felt colder and my feet started cramping. I had no choice but to use a floater until we got back to shore.
I decided to change my clothes after swimming to make myself feel warmer, and again, I took paracetamol for me to feel better. After lunch, we started preparing for snorkeling. That was the time when we used fins. We were asked again to swim by pair so coach Griin can assist us. I was uncomfortable with the fins but I had to get used to it because I also know that I will be using it when I start my freediving class.
I started swimming when it was our time. My partner was being assisted because she was scared and also uncomfortable with her fins. I was focused on swimming/snorkeling and didn’t realize that I was getting far from my partner and my coach. My mask was not properly worn so the water kept entering my face and my eyes. I couldn’t do treading, to fix it, because I didn’t know how to properly use the fins. I was far both from my partner/coach and the buoy that I had to reach. I started feeling like I was drowning, and all I could think of that time, in order to survive, was to back float, but I still couldn’t stay long because my fins were so uncomfortable. I also couldn’t lift myself up. I was drowning! I already thought of shouting for help but I wanted to try saving myself without anyone’s assistance and try my best to reach the buoy, so I kept swimming. I continuously tried doing the treading and back float to fix my mask. I was seriously struggling, but my companions gave me the courage not to give up when I saw them swimming near me so I thought of just doing freestyle swimming until I reach the buoy. I immediately told my coach about it, and you know what she said? “that’s survival training!”. Sometimes, we just thought we couldn’t make it, but if we face our fears, we will realize in the end that we can. She told me that I know how to swim, but my fears are stopping me from enjoying the water.
Although I was not able to do everything that I wanted to, because I was sick, I still had so much fun. Open water swimming didn’t just give me the confidence in deep water. I also gained new friends.
I will surely join the next open water swimming. Hopefully, I am so much better by that time.