After many delays, we finally completed our 6-hour qualifying swim on Saturday! We woke up at 5 am and prepared our beverages of choice for the swim. Emma chose hot chocolate, and Mackenzie chose lukewarm lemonade. We got in the water about 6:15, and began to swim downstream. After about 20 minutes , we turned around and began to make our way back to the Marina. We spent the next FOUR AND A HALF HOURS trying to swim back upstream. Since there was an extremely strong current, we made very little progress and sometimes found ourselves swimming in place. We didn’t until notice this until we realized we had been staring at the same landmarks for the past half hour.
The water was not too cold, probably about 59 degrees which is approximately what we’re expecting the Channel to be. Though we had expected a lot of boat traffic over the holiday weekend, the cloudy morning kept most of the boats away.
To keep us entertained, Kim would sometimes go ahead of us and set the anchor in. We would then work to catch up to him, and then start all over again. The current was very strong, and every time we stopped to take a break, in about a minute we would drift back to nearly where we has started. Luckily, there was no distance requirement for this qualifying swim. If we had swam at this pace (with this current) across the Channel it would take us about 8 days. That’s around 9 hours per mile, not including breaks.
In the last hour, we decided to just swim in place. Kim put the anchor in and set an inner tube out. We then had a great time drifting back to the tube, swimming up to the boat, and then drifting back again! It was a fun way to end our challenge.
At the end of our swim, it felt good to be done and fully qualified to swim the Channel. It was somewhat disorienting to stand after being in the water for so long, especially on the unstable dock. All in all, we were tired, sore, and hungry, but we were very happy to have finished. Special thanks to Kim for escorting us on our swim.
For the rest of the weekend, we’ve been taking it easy, but we look forward to more Connecticut River swims in the future!