They say it takes ten years to become an expert at something.

Ten years of patience, dedication, determination, repeated failure. Thousands and thousands of hours of meticulous preparation; each day a hair different from the previous; the accumulation something remarkable, unexpected.

I started swimming when I was two years old, dropped in the water by my parents and learning (albeit poorly) how to swim rather quickly after that. I wasn’t the best swimmer in our neighborhood: I kicked like I road a bicycle and often went backwards. But I loved the water, and couldn’t stay away from it.

I wasn’t remarkable at age-group swimming, nor was I especially outstanding during my teenage years.  Yet I loved it, and couldn’t not do it. Swimming, to me, is like dancing. I get to move my body, breathe in rhythms, perfect technique, tell a story in my mind while I dance between the surface of the water and the air.

If anything has taught me something about life, it’s swimming. The act of doing something each day, working towards a goal, and building layers of experience into each subsequent year — and finding how to be successful through multiple iterations — is a challenge, a joy, and a desire.  Swimming is a huge part of my life. Everything I’ve done, I’ve learned from swimming.

Bay Swims

In 2008, I started open-water swimming and got hooked. I’ve completed the Alcatraz swim (1.5 miles) seven times, swam a relay across the SF Bay from the Golden Gate Bridge to Berkeley, swam a relay across Lake Tahoe, and completed two long-distance solo swims including the Prison-to-Prison (9-mile) swim, and the Bridge-to-Bridge (5 mile) swim in San Francisco.

I’m currently writing a series of essays on swimming that I’ll be compiling into a book. To sign up for updates from this blog and to be notified of the book, sign up here to get notified of new posts and writing.

More swimming and adventure-related posts:

Further inspiration: