One of my biggest joys each summer is getting together with my fair-weather friends. Those are the women who I know through swimming, but who I only get to see when the water is warm enough to get together at a lake or river.
I have known some of them for more than 15 years. We started out at the same swim program at a city pool, and eventually signed up together for our first open water swim.
That led to a years-long love of swimming in the nearby lakes and rivers.
I met others more recently, as they heard about our little group and joined in. Over the years we have moved on to other swim clubs. Nadine even moved out of province.
While a few of us hang out right through the winter,
and we are friends on-line, the real fun comes in July, when the water is warm enough that even the most cold-sensitive can join for a swim and gossip.
A group of women (plus our friend Filippo) and Aimee’s giant swan float, in the Ottawa River.
This summer we haven’t done much serious swimming, but maybe that will pick up after this weekend’s 3k race. Candace is doing it for the 9th time, it is Vicki’s first, and Aimee will be a swim angel for someone who needs support in the water. On Sunday we did spend time giving Vicki advice about managing the swim, but mostly we goofed around.
When we have time, we like to follow the tradition of British slow swimmers, as described in Open Water Swimming: “Cake is an essential part of the whole ritual of open water swimming. Not only does it allows for recovery post-swim, with a variety of healthy and healthier options, but it is the vehicle for our social engagement, it is an essential enabler of this community feeling that is quite unique. We haven’t had a post-swim cake party yet, but I am looking forward to it.
Diane Harper lives and swims in Ottawa.