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"I Learned To Swim At 40"

David MK

Jun 1, 2017

Learning new skills, and challenging yourself has no Age Limit

Swim at 40?

Why the hell should I want to learn how to swim at 40?

If I haven’t found out at this point in my life how to swim then why the hell should I learn at this time in my life?

When I was younger, I was overcome by anxiety, so anything that I was scared of had control of my life. It was an acute response to staying safe. I would expect that a pre historic response was a safety net and had kept our kind safe for millions of years.It wasn’t until I hit the halfway point in my life that I decided to challenge this feeling or concept. So I agreed to do a 70.3 and a full.

I would either walk away or never return, but this was something I had to confront. Where did this courage or pure stupidity come from?

I remember I was so shy about my body that I wouldn’t ever take my shirt off at a pool. Other boys my age had a tight six pack, and I told Chineses people could never swim.

Was this a David Meets Goliath Moment?

Yes, it was, and the pea size fear pellet was worth throwing back at this giant. I remember throwing myself into the pool and trying to swim. It was far from swimming it was a panicked thrashing of getting slowly somewhere.

I remember that I felt there was no better place to start crying than my face in the water.

So that is what I did. I cried in the water and kept going.

I’m not exactly sure where I heard this, but I remember that swimming was learning about how to move with molecules.It was learning to allow the molecules around you to push you ahead.

I did this, and I kept this my mantra. Soon enough I swam beyond 25m, and I kept going.

What About The Open Water

Open water scared the shit out of me. The stigma of “Jaws” the movie and the stories of sea serpents littered my head. I had to face this and how the hell was I supposed to do this?I guess this is something I have to do. I know I can swim, but if I die out there on my own, there is nothing to save me.

This was the Giant I think I was waiting to slay. Swimming into nothing but moving my way into something. Remember I didn’t kill the anxiety, but because I pissed it off enough, it wanted to freeze my ass where it floated.

I pulled my wet suit on and headed out. It was grainy and green with nothing to be seen.


I look ahead and see something. I hear the water is warm enough for crocodiles and other deadly things to live long enough to feast on Canadian Bacon.

The thing I see in the distance becomes clearer, and it takes on a long bumpy figure. Could this be what my Jurassic warning signs made to keep me safe telling me this is it? By the looks of it…YES!FuCK!Nooooooo!

Shit, this is the end of me in beautiful Christina Lake BC. Swim You fucking fool!!!!I do and then 5 seconds later realise that was a fucking log………………………………………………………………………..

I roll on my back and thank GOD for everything I loved in my life and sorry for the shit I created.

I float on my back, and soon enough I begin to laugh… Anybody on shore would have thought that I lost my mind. I realized that I had proven my reptilian brain wrong.I had control over my fight or flight and that what It warned me of wasn’t always right.

It wasn’t something to excuse, but it was definitely something to think twice about. Maybe possibly even challenge.

It wasn’t until my full Ironman that I learned that swimming with a pack was the most liberating, freeing and animalistic thing one could do. It was a connection, and the closest thing to nature humans could have.Swimming with a family of people was like swimming in a school of fish. We soon found our place and moved forward. Similar to what I’ve been doing all my life but I felt like finally, I had the most active role in it.

For me being Goliath is as big or small as we want it to be and our ability to conquer it is as simple as facing it. Your dragon shines, not burns.

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