Guest Post (VIDEO) How I Learned to Love Open Water
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on November 2nd, 2012

Since 70 percent of its surface is wet, it seems appropriate to call this orb on which we live Planet Water. When I do, I can’t help but wonder how many of its 7 billion humans inhabit Planet Water fully and freely – I.E. having the skill and self-confidence to explore the untamed beauty of the seas with nothing but suit, cap and goggles.

My educated guess is that fewer than a half million people–-less than 1 Percent of the human race-–can swim a mile or more in the sea. So we could call long-distance ocean swimmers the Planet Water One Percent. Are you a member?

That highly exclusive club gained several new members at the TI Open Water Camp in Cirali Turkey last month, including three women from Russia in their late 30s—Yulia Troshina  and Evgeniia Belonoschenko of Moscow and Olga Gritsuk of Samara, Russia, who have known each other since childhood.

They came to Cirali with modest expectations and left with a sense of limitless possibility, which came from having been able to cover a significant distance in the open sea with ease, comfort and confidence.  Prior to our camp, they’d done some pool swimming, but just 25 to 50 meters at a time. Before the week was out, all had done one or more freestyle swims of 2.5 to 3.5km (1000 times farther than they’d swum before) in the sea.

I’ll let Yulia, who is the most fluent in English of the three, tell the rest:

I came to Cirali thinking I would enjoy a nice vacation with my friends, get some beginner lessons, (I had never swum crawl before), then sit on the beach when others went off to swim ‘crazy’ distances. I was looking forward to a boat cruise Mat had planned for our fifth day—I thought it would be nice to have a cocktail as we sailed along.

By the end of our first day I was already swimming freestyle more easily than I ever imagined. And each day after, we learned more and swam farther. Yet no matter how far we swam we never felt tired.

On Thursday we boarded the boat and set sail down the coast. Coaches and campers got off the boat at various points, to swim to the bay where we would anchor for lunch. After a couple hours there, we started back toward our pansiyon.  Some coaches and campers left early to begin swimming back. The boat picked them up along the way.

Evgeniia, Olga and I asked to be dropped off 2000 meters from home to try to swim the rest of the way. It was much farther than we’d swum previously but we felt confident. Our fellow campers were waiting for us on the beach. When we reached them we felt so good we swam another 500 meters! I was overcome by so many emotions when I learned the distance I had swum. It gave me an amazing sense of limitless possibility! (The next day we swam even farther, but it wasn’t a surprise this time.)

In Cirali, besides learning to swim with such ease and pleasure, I also learned to love this powerful and beautiful deep blue water, and to be confident I could swim a long distance in it. T.I. is an amazing swimming technique!

But TI teaches something much bigger than swimming technique.  It teaches you to be in harmony with yourself and with the natural world.

Would you love to join the Planet Water One Percent? Join us at the TI Open Water Camps at Maho Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands Jan 6-12 or Jan 13-19.  Early-Bird discounts apply through Nov 6 for the first camp and Nov 13 for the second.  Learn more here.


6 Responses to “Guest Post (VIDEO) How I Learned to Love Open Water”

  1. Christian says:

    Great guest post. Wonderful story. I want to join Planet Water One Percent

  2. Gerry Forman says:

    Hi Terry, I always enjoy your blog! Hoe Sandy didn’t cause you too much of a problem. Shan ar you going to visit San Diego again? Take care and keep in touch…

  3. Elizabeth Moose says:

    Thanks for a marvelous and inspiring post. Have you by chance ever thought of holding an open water camp on the southwest coast of Crete? I swim there every summer, using the town of Paleochora as a base. Crystal-clear waters, rugged coastline, that blinding, brilliant Greek sun (not a myth), friendly, welcoming people, healthful and delicious food–all the ingredients for a magical and life-enriching experience. You can swim five kilometers along the coast, haul yourself up on a pebble beach, rest a bit, then slip back into the sea to swim back to the village. En route you’ll catch sight of parrot fish, mullets, wrasses, common soles, demoiselles, starfish, and maybe even an octopus or moray. A few times I’ve found myself hovering over a school of barracuda (not to worry–they’re not aggressive). Farther east, the little cove of Old Phoenix (near Loutro) is also a wonderful base–not accessible by car, only by the ferry the plies the southwest coast of Crete. Good hiking, too, if you can bear to stay out of the sea for a day.

  4. Elizabeth, this sounds SO appealing. I will try to check this out myself. Failing that I’ll ask Mat Hudson, our man in Antalya, to check it out.

  5. peter barton says:

    i feel this is me and the next big thing I need to do to become confident. where do you post details of future camps like a long way hence, perhaps six months or a year

  6. Robert Smith says:

    Awesome post, I enjoy your blog and thanks for this inspiring post.

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