Open Water Swimming

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“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 Busstop 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. The main reason why I have decided to enroll was 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 was confident that all other joiners were friendly and easy to get along with because of my experiences during swimming class so I pushed through with the plan.

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 planned to bring a car, I offered service to others who are willing to join me. Unexpectedly, many of them sent me message, telling me that they wanted to join me because they were also going alone. I felt so happy because I’ll have the opportunity to get to know them a little, so at least we can be more comfortable with each other.

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 came 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 could not 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. I felt colder and both my feet started cramping. I had no choice but to use a floater until we got back to shore.

Photo Credit: Swimtravel PH

After swimming, I already decided to change my clothes to make myself feel warmer. I took again paracetamol. After having our lunch, we started preparing for snorkeling. That was the time when we used flippers. We were asked again to swim by pair so coach Griin can assist us. I was uncomfortable with the flippers 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 flippers. I was focused on swimming and didn’t realize that I was getting far from my partner and my coach. My snorkeling gear didn’t fit me well so water kept entering my face and my eyes. I also couldn’t do treading because I was not really comfortable with the flippers. I was far both from my partner/coach and the buoy that I had to reach. I started feeling like I was drowning. All I knew I could do that time to fix my snorkeling gear was to do the backfloat, but my flippers were pulling me underwater so I also couldnt stay longer. I was already thinking if I’ll start shouting for help but I told myself that I have to do it alone and try my best to reach the buoy. I was struggling to swim, but when I already saw some of our companions swimming beside me, I started to do the freestyle until I reach the buoy. I told my coach after about it, and you know what she told me? “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 make it. 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. Other joiners also became my friends.

I will surely join the next open water swimming. Hopefully, I am so much better by that time.

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