The non-physical benefits of open water and marathon swimming varies from person to person, and likely changes over the years. For some, it is simply a way to exercise, nothing more. For others, it’s mental therapy, a chance to socialize with friends, and travel.
Over the years, some elements of marathon swimming have changed for me. Other elements were always there but I had to grow as a person to realize them. I learn something new every swim, even a short training or pleasure swim. It’s the opportunity to continuously work on ‘things’ through the lessons each swim presents and weave them back into my daily life.
Marathon swimming is the opportunity to find and practice solitude, solace, meditation, self-reflection, self-acceptance, confidence, patience, gratitude, friendship, fortitude, and trust.
Yes, there is always a stroke component – am I rotating, how is my hand entry… Other times it’s mental – when I get frustrated and want to quit, how do I turn my head off and not let it interfere?
It’s always something, and sometimes I don’t realize what the lesson was or the cumulative benefits until well after the swim.
What is it for you?