Freedom,  Ocean inspiration,  Uncategorized,  Water sports,  Ways to the ocean

Freedom is waiting on the other shore

In the elements of the ocean 🌊🏊🏻‍♀️🌊

22. September 2020

I started my swim at 01.55 at Samphire Hoe, with shaky knees and a pitch black night and sea waiting for me.
Before I got into the water I felt cold and was scared about what was lying ahead of me.
As soon as I entered the water this feeling of being cold went away, the water felt warm and I only had to swim 50m to the shore, getting out of the water, feeling the pebbles under my feet.
When I heard the sound of the boat’s horn I jumped into the dark water and took off to swim the Channel.

There was a light on the starboard side of the boat that gave me the direction to swim to.
I was trying to get into my rhythm, to stay on track with the light, to adapt and readjust to the boat because you have no sense at all for where you are heading.
You see lights, lights from other boats, the coast and I could see stars but you can’t see what you are swimming through: was this only seaweed, a plastic bottle, a jellyfish?

I could see on my watch that I was swimming with an incredible speed (10min/km) and from the beginning I was thinking: OMG this is a massive spring tide!! That’s not good!!
After my second feeding my crew shouted at me: Go,Go,Go!! That I have to hurry up with my feeding. I tried to swim faster although everyone had advised me before the swim to swim with a moderate pace in the beginning.

The hours went by and I could see the light of dawn.
I knew that something was not ok with my swimming, I should have been further in the Channel and as the tide changed the water got choppier.
First I was thinking that the waves will settle when the tide has changed but the waves got bigger and bigger and the wind picked up.
It must have been around 7-8 am in the morning, so I was in the water for around 6h.
My muscles were already a bit achy but that isn’t something new for me, I thought I just have to keep swimming and that it will go away as it always does when I swim longer distances but it didn’t go away.

Channel swimmers always reported that they were looking forward to their feedings.
I wasn’t. I saw it only as something that puts me under more stress and I didn’t have the time and opportunity to stretch my left shoulder that got more and more painful because of swimming through these waves smashing at it. It was only: Go,Go,Go!! You have to hurry up, go faster if you want to have a chance to get with the tide to the French coast.
Something was really off with this swim.

I lost track of the time, I didn’t know how many hours I was swimming.
I had to focus on swimming very close to the boat because it tried to block some of the swell that was hitting at me.
It was getting one arm in front of the other, one painful stroke at a time but after 13 hours of swimming I couldn’t lift my left arm anymore.
I tried to swim only with my right one, only move my left arm under water but how will you swim for your tide window that will push you to France with such a slow speed?

I knew, this is the end of my swim and then came the words you don’t want to hear:
It’s over, you can’t make it, you have to swim for another 12 hours to reach France!
While getting to the stern of the boat to climb the ladder I saw the cliffs of France,
so close but at the same time so unreachable….

Does it make me feel better that this were really tough conditions, waves bigger than predicted, a big spring tide, wind over tide?
Does it hurt less that experienced Channel swimmers told me that it only was doable on that day for very fast and strong swimmers or relays?
Yes, it does because I gave the best I could, because I trained under lockdown the best I could and sometimes the best is not enough to reach your goal but it is the best outcome for you at this moment.

The ocean is always stronger but getting into its elements has taught me so much:

It has brought me beautiful friendships and connections to wonderful people and you can believe me, when you’re battling with the elements you realize how important it is to see true friends on the boat, watching over you, watching every stroke you make, being there for you and wanting you to be safe.
I had so many wonderful people by my side who encouraged me, supported me, lifted me up when I was down, had my dark night of the soul.
For these experiences I will forever be grateful.

I experienced for the first time how it is to grow and evolve as a team, how it is to go on this journey and adventure together.
Channel swimming is not a solo event, it is a team sport and you need true friends by your side for this.

I got over so many fears and limiting believes I had. I pushed my limits to the end and I know that I will get out of this experience so much stronger.
Dare to dream big, trust that your dream is meant for you.
Even if you don’t know how to get there yet, trust that you will find a way.

And what I also learned is that there is a lot of value in ‚failure‘.
I didn’t make it to France but I learned so much more through this because it wasn’t the easy way. It shows me how important it is to keep going even in tough conditions.
When we keep going, we will get to the point that is the right one for us in this moment.
The right place.
Maybe it isn’t the place we expected but it’s our place, our individual way and one day we will get there, the place where we want to be.

That is only a glimpse of my experience, emotions and thoughts of swimming the Channel.
There is so much more to say and so much more to process, even now when I’m writing these lines to you.
It may seem to look like a very painful experience to you but it is one that
I’m grateful for, probably an experience that has and will change me forever. And I also feel that this journey isn’t over yet.
This whole project was a project, a dream that came from the depths of my
heart and when this is the case, then it is important to go for it, that you don’t give up on your dream.
I have to find a way to give it another try.

The reasons that I want to try it again are simple:

I just love being in the ocean.
I am truly grateful for the people I met through going on this journey.
I love taking action on my dreams. It makes life so much more worth living
for me.
I want to overcome my fears and limits because this is the way to freedom. There is no failure only experiences and the experiences I made will be
forever in my heart.

The experience of swimming the Channel gave me also a new sense of community.
And that’s the reason why I want to restart the livelifelikeanocean community.
It is so important to have people by your side when you want to achieve your dreams.
People who care, who encourage and support you and my wish is to build up such a community in the future.
A community for ocean and freedom lovers who want to follow their heart and dreams with the help and inspiration of the ocean.

Join the livelifelikeanocean community:

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