This past weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in the first swimming relay of it’s kind. Swim24 is a charity event that was raising money for the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program. All money raised goes toward giving swim lessons to kids who’s families can’t afford them. Drowning is the #1 cause of death for kids 5 and under. The challenge given was to gather a team of 2-12 people and swim for 24hrs straight to raise money and awareness for Drowning Prevention.
Two weeks out from the event, I only had 5 people signed up to be on my team. It was going to be a loooong 24hrs of swimming. Fortunately, our team pulled through and found 4 more people to help swim! One of which we accumulated on the day of the event. More to come on that. We ended up with 9 people. Thank goodness!
The event started at noon on Saturday, August 30th. We brought a tent, blankets, pillows, lots of swimsuits, goggles, and dry clothes, both for during the day, and warm clothes for at night. The event took place at the University of California – San Diego pool – Canyonview. There were a few areas around the pool, including grassy areas, that people set up camp for the 24+hours that we were going to be there. We found a grassy spot, and saw other people grabbing lounge chairs to sleep on. Not a bad idea. So, we grabbed a few for ourselves, and opted to forego the tent. I mean were we really going to sleep, anyway?
All 8 of us check-in and were ready to go. We didn’t have a real plan in place, and decided to be flexible. In fact, a woman who swims regularly saw signs for the event, and decided to just show up on event day to see if she could participate. We had room on our team, and of course, we happily accepted her on our team, and were excited to have her contribute. Fran was a big ball of positive energy, and one that we would need on Sunday. A small backstory on Fran: Fran’s husband got in a BMX accident in 2010, and landed on his head, and broke a bunch of ribs, which ended up creating a wound in his aorta. He was rushed to the hospital and at one point during surgery was pronounced dead. He survived, and as he recooperated, unfortunately, a blood clot had gone to his brain. Long story short, Fran’s life changed forever. She is now the primary care giver for her husband, and rarely has time for herself to do the things she loves. You could tell by Fran’s energy that this was an experience that she will never forget and that she truly embraced. It reminded all of us to live in the moment, and not take anything for granted. Although Fran couldn’t stay over night, she came back the next morning and brought bagels and coffee to us sleep deprived swimmers, and brought back the energy we needed to complete this event. She was a pure joy. And for a glimpse of 24hrs we could see through her eyes, as if everything in life is a miracle. It was truly a blessing to have met her.
Okay, back to the event. So, with 9 of us, and 2 not being able to stay over night, we started out with 15min increments, rotating all the way through our 9. We did another round of 15, then a round of 30min, and then a round of 15, before Jill and Fran both had to take off. We then to get through the night and allow for a bit of rest, all 7 of us overnighters swam for 1hr. We then went back to 30min increments, and then Fran and Jill met back up with us in the morning to finish out our round of 30min. We then went to 10min increments, and then finished up with 45min of 100yd relays, all swimming as fast and hard as we could. We wanted to get as many yards as we could. None of us went in with a competitive mindset, but as the numbers were adding up, we all started setting small goals for ourselves. It was kind of cool to see us all reach them. By the end, we were exhausted. Throughout the 24hrs there was a DJ, a band that came and brought a bunch of energy, food for dinner and breakfast, water, and a whole lot of fun.
All the news stations, NBC, Fox, etc. came to cover the event, which was really cool. There were a total of 19 teams that participated in this 1st year charity event, and teams had anywhere from 6 to 12 people on them. There were high school swim teams, club teams, triathletes, and those who just love to swim. Every team had their own strategy going in, and it was interesting to see each team try to swim for 24hrs. By the end of 24hrs, as a whole group, we had raised over $61,000. It costs $100 to teach a kid how to swim in the pool and ocean, and teach them water safety as well in the pool and ocean, which means 6,100 kids will be given water safety and swim lessons. Sooooo cool! I can’t wait to participate again next year! Thank you to all those who donated in your own way, whether it was monetarily, positive thoughts and energy, or supportive and kind words. It was more than we could have asked for, so thanks!
Our team – Mermaids and Mermen
Total Yards Swam – 88,850
Total Miles – 50.48
Total Yards Swam – 11,100
Total Miles – 6.3
Total Time – 2hrs 57min
Total Time Slept – 0
This challenged inspired me to challenge all of you, which brings me to the September Fitness Challenge! The Project Neon September Fitness Challenge is to swim 30 by Sept 30th. That’s 30,000yds by the end of September. That’s on average 1,000yds a day. You can do it!