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English Channel 2017

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Yup, it’s time to reflect on back on all things aquatic for the year and to begin to look ahead towards the new year.

It was literally down to the wire, as in December 31st, to hit my goal of swimming 500 miles for the year.  Not sure I have ever cut it that close before. I swam 882,216 yards which is the equivalent distance between Amsterdam and Zurich.  There were 214 different swimming sessions in pools, lakes, lagoons and oceans for a cumulative 232 hours in the water.

There were 16 new pools in 8 states (Colorado, California, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Illinois), four countries (Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland), a principality (Monaco) and a disputed territory (Western Sahara).  One very unique line up pools and open water venues was Le Grande Tour in late October (see blog~ #110, #111, #112~Le Grande Tour)

Palm Springs Aquatic Center

Het Marnix Amsterdam

Chelsea Sports Center, London

The exclusive Westmoor Club on Nantucket

Villa D’Este, Lake Como

I also participated in 5 different open water races and fared well in most of them except one.  Two events stood out in particular. First the Portland Bridge Swim where I brought open water swimming back to my roots in Portland, Oregon.  I had a great support team of daughter Courtney and niece Sarah and killer cheering squad of parents, sisters and nephews.  It was a 12.5 mile swim down the Willamette River that turned into a suffer-fest as I disregarded basic nutrition principles and bonked. Lesson learned don’t be cocky and overzealous and stick to a plan. (see blog~Portland Bridge Swim)

My support team Sarah and Courtney

Cheering squad

The second, was a somewhat late edition to the swim schedule, Morocco Swim Trek. It was a four part staged swim in Dakhla Lagoon in the Western Sahara.  It was an experience of a lifetime. You can read the blog (Inshallah…Morocco Swim Trek ) for the gory deets. There were two stand out takeaways. First, solo travel can open your world to a whole new array of experiences and friends.  And second, watching the joy and pride on peoples faces as they accomplish their personal goals can be just as fulfilling doing it yourself.

New friends

The Dutch Ladies completing the 5k

Pierre, Dino & Me post 10k

Two other aquatic related activities occurred in 2018 that were minor but important milestones in the year. They may play role in future endeavors in years to come. After nearly 35 years I became a certified Red Cross lifeguard. Why not? It was a fun activity to do with Courtney this winter (see blog~Baywatch Bob).  In May,  I also participated in U.S. Masters Swimming’s, adult learn to swim month. I volunteered for a couple of sessions to teach local adults how to swim. I really enjoyed it and found it challenging and very satisfying. I will do it again in 2019. (see blog~Swimming Saves Lives).

On the non-aquatic front there were several important family events that I was able to work some water related activities into.

There was Gram’s surprise birthday celebration with the family in Palm Springs. It was also fitting to hit by 100th pool on this occasion (see blog~#100 & #101~Milestones). By the way, Gram is not 100 years old.

Next up an inspirational series of events for Courtney, the last fishy to leave the Weston fish bowl. First up a fairy tale high school swim season and career that started with no championship cuts to qualifying for the state meet and scoring points for the team (see blog~A fairy tale ending…).

I even surprised myself that I was able to take my early June blog New Seasons and twist it into commentary about Courtney’s graduation from high school and her delivery of the class commencement address on the Weston Town Green.

Lastly, was my creatively titled blog Finishes and starts basically about the end of the 2018 open water season and Courtney’s new start as a freshman at my alma mater the University of Washington. Go Dawgs!

I would be remiss if I didn’t call out family vacation in August. With busy calendars its not easy to coordinate but, family scheduler in charge, Shannon was able to plan a fun filled vacation near our old stomping grounds in scenic Stinson Beach just north of San Francisco.  It was also home to a first ever Trans-Tectonic Plate Swim.  Thanks surfer dude Chris for the inspiration.

Well, I guess that just about wraps up things for 2018!  It was a good year. Time flies when you are busy, traveling, having fun and watching the little fishies explore their new worlds.

Not sure what is in store for 2019 but…what I do know is we are looking forward to future change and new experiences. Can’t wait!

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