Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Amanda's Save the Bay Swim 2014

This is exciting - the first guest post here at Root and Rocks.  My wife Amanda did the Save the Bay swim this past Saturday.  1.7 miles across the bay from Newport to Jamestown.  Between nursing Ezri's broken leg and Brown closing its swimming pool, she came into this event undertrained (her words.)  Still she did a great job and here is her tale...

Waiting for the swimmers

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for sponsoring me in the Save the Bay swim! All of you together, with my family and friends, donated over a $1000. Wow! The outpouring of support made me feel awesome (and made me unable to back out.)

--------------my long recap, if you are curious----------------

As my friend, and safety kayaker, Lorie and I drove to Newport Saturday morning (so early - up at 4 am) the sunrise was (tear-inducing) glorious. My fears and anxiety left (mostly) and one thought remained - I was about to have an experience of a lifetime. The actual swim was, without a doubt, the best one I have ever had. The Bay was beautiful; no waves, no current, no sharks, no jellyfish, and the water temperature was perfect. 
The only issue I had were the other safety kayaks. Right after the cannon blast, out of the corner of my eye  I see a kayak coming up fast on my right. I had to stop swimming so he didn't run me over. My "driving in rush hour traffic" personality came out. I made it clear to him that I was not pleased with his boating skills, eventually shouting "You are a great human being!" as he glided past. The inflatable dolphin he was towing did run me over. Nothing like some hostility to start things off right. Grrr!

After all that plus having to maneuver around the other swimmer/ kayaks pairs, I could tell that we were way, way back. Eventually I found my groove, and we passed a lot of other pairs. With the perfect conditions, I was able to really focus on my form and breathing. Lorie did an great job leading the way. I barely had to lift my head out of the water to see her ahead of me.
At some point mid swim, I started to notice another kayak was very close on my right. For what seemed like a long time, I could see him taking pictures on his phone or texting!! Closer and closer him seem to get to me. After the earlier encounter, I grew more and more nervous that the next breath could find him right on top of me.  When he was less than two arm lengths from me, I just couldn't take it anymore. I shouted, "Dude!! You're freaking me out!!" He said not a word, or even seemed to notice, but eventually he moved off or dropped behind me.
Thankfully, that was the end of the drama. I just continued to focus on my form, thinking "be a fish, be a fish, kick, lead with the elbow, breath, be a fish" (from the Total Immersion swim program I used to learn to swim in January 2013.) Once we came around Taylor Point and I could see the finish, I put everything I had left into it. Save the Bay stresses that it isn't a race, but boy I am competitive and seeing those other swimmers near me, I just had to pass as many as I could. I completed the swim in 71 minutes (to keep things in perspective... just enough to keep me in the top 75% percent...) This qualifies me to swim without a kayaker - next year... 


Our whole family had come to support Amanda including friends and grandparents so she had a good cheering section.  It was cool watching the beach slowly fill up with kayaks as the pairs finished.  I knew Amanda would have no trouble finishing because she is a very determined person.  Afterwards we went over to the mini festival set up for the swimmers and their families - lots of food, ice cream and music.  From the Ocean's Run 1/2 Marathon to swimming the bay, I'm very proud of all Amanda's done this year - what will her next challenge be?


  1. Well done, Amanda! That is a LONG swim and quite an accomplishment to finish after all of the training challenges you faced in the past few months. Next year, I suggest swimming with a small awl; a discreetly placed hole might teach those rude kayakers a lesson. Congrats!

  2. Congrats Amanda! I couldn't even dream of swimming that far. As for Mr. Acton sort of calling you out re: your "next challenge", remind him that you put up with him and his antics on a daily basis. What could top that in terms of challenging?


  3. Amazing! Well Done Amanda! I agree with Chris, a small sharp implement to pierce those offending kayaks. The nerve. You had a great swim and look forward to hearing more of your adventures!! Be a fish!