Friday, October 18, 2013

JAWS, or Handling the Fear in Open-water Swimming

I love open-water swimming. Lakes, rivers, the ocean, it's both exhilarating and calming. I'd be lying if I said it's not a little bit frightening, too. While I don't do as much open-water swimming as I used to, when I was swimming Brewers Bay, from the UVI dock to Black Point and back regularly, a swim didn't pass where I didn't start humming Da-dum. Da-dum. Da-dum-da-dum-da-dum somewhere out in the middle of the bay.

Thanks Jaws.

Original movie poster from Jaws (1975)

Here's a post from "The Swimming Blog" that appeared in The Guardian not too long ago that had me giggling and nodding my head in commiseration with the author, Jenny Landrith.
Open-water Swimming: How do you handle the fear?

Now, during my once a year open-water swim on the Cooper River, I tend to "get in the zone" or what I've referred to in a previous blog post as "swimmer's bliss" by counting strokes. I play games to make the 2.4 miles pass faster: "No peaking until I've swum 100 strokes." Or, "Count how many strokes to the next buoy" then compare that to the number of strokes to the one after that. Those distractions can keep me occupied for most of the swim, but still, at some point it happens.

Da-dum. Da-dum. Da-dum-da-dum-da-dum

I'm not certain if it's fear or habit anymore. Maybe it's even become my way to deal with fear: do something silly like sing the Jaws theme.

How do you deal with your fear of the unknown?


  1. Reminds me of a comedian who said he realized something about himself: He screams exactly like a little girl whether it's a Great White Shark biting his entire leg off or a tiny bit of seaweed brushing by his foot.

  2. LOL! I can't remember who the comedian was, but I saw that, too. It cracked me up, especially because my brother is the same way. He was an outstanding water skier, not because he really enjoyed it, but because he was terrified of falling in the lake and having seaweed touch him!