Kayaking for open water swimmer, an eye opener two years down the road.

Santiago Vadillo paddles beside Miguel Vadillo on the shores of Lake Ontario on August 9, 2010.
Photo: Jim Rankin


Last Saturday, June 2, 2012 I went down to Welland, Ontario where an Open Water seminar for the 2012 great lakes swim crossings aspirants took place.

A great job of Christine Arsenault organizing the event and Solo Swims of Ontario that brought their experts to share lots of important knowledge and information to help the aspirants to be successful on their attempts.

It was a great time I spent beside great Open Water swimmers.
One thing that I got to do is to paddle a kayak beside Colleen Shields for her 5 Km. workout on the Welland Canal. The wind was very strong all the time on the first 2.5 Km we had it on our backs. Some of you would say that's wonderful! … mmh if I was on my bike on an Ironman I will say that too. But in this case my job is to stay beside the swimmer at all times to monitor her swim and be of any help she possibly could need, and it wasn't easy to stay beside her when the wind was pushing me very hard at times. I had to paddle very hard backwards to be able to stay with Colleen and on the way back with the wind on my face it was hard to keep up with her because some how she was much faster than me on the kayak.

Colleen had a good swim (I think) and I learned how hard it is some times to be the paddler.

I couldn't stop thinking in my three main kayakers while I was training for my Lake Ontario Swim:

My great coach Kendra Burton, my lovely fianceé Katie and my son Santiago.

The three of them donated lots of time over the 11 months that I trained for this just to be at my side and help me with the water, the food, but most importantly with their support and words of comfort and fun when I most needed them.

Somehow this little 5Km of kayaking beside Colleen gave me a much better appreciation of how hard would have been for my team to do it so often and for so long. Some times over 5 hours non stop!

Kendra, Katie, San: Once again thank you very much. I have no words to tell you how much meant at the time and how much more it means to me now. I have lots of respect for what you did now that I have learned what it is to be in that position (for as short as it was!)

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