After the swim everything seemed to be blurred and like in a dream. Then a few days of merciless pain followed by a few others of mental numbness… but that is for a later story.
Here I want to share my detailed memories (as much as I can) of the long, long swim:
On Monday August 9th I picked up San, the kayak and went to Toronto in the morning. There was one more thing I wanted to do before the big attempt.
I wanted to go to Toronto, swim beyond the break wall west of the yacht club and arrive into Marilyn Bell park.
I needed to visualize how does it look, I needed to feel the water there, taste it, feel it.
I needed to have my own particular image of myself touching that historic wall. I needed to build that finish in my head before I could even attempt the crossing.
Jim Rankin would be there to shoot some pictures for the upcoming stories for the Star.
So after an hour or so we got to the park to find out that there is no parking!
thinkin, thinkin, thinkin, thinking. Ok Ontario place is too far east, so lets go back west to the first parking lot available… and so we did.
Jim found himself in the same dilema but smarter than I am, her parked at the CNE just in front of the park.
He would wait for us as we started the swim on the east beach of the Sunnyside complex.
I was in the water for 20 seconds and I said to Santiago: It is cold. Very cold. ( it was 11 degrees celsius) Santiago touched it with his hand and said you are a woosy! is just fine… yeah, easy to say from the kayak, and off we went thorough the opening of the break wall.
I was very uncomfortable, worried, cold and nervous. It was the first and only time that I was there IN the big lake just with my 12 years old son in the kayak by my side that I could not feel right, and I could see that he was scared as well.
I swam 20 minutes until we got the rocks in front of the yacht club, and I was worried because Jim was waiting for us. While I was trying to swim faster, Santiago was getting upset because I was going off the line I should and I wasn't with him as planed. We agreed on him towing me to the other end of the rocks wall… but was too much, after all his old man weights like a manati by now, but his help was great for the speed and I kept swimming on my own for the last 15 minutes until we saw the opening of the wall just 400 meters east of Marilyn Bell park.
Santiago was still complaining but I just tuned him out and focus on the arrival, on the entrance to the gap, on the color and temperature of the water and finally the wall. I was finally there putting the last piece of the preparation puzzle together.
I got then the exact image of myself arriving to Toronto and in that moment I thought that I was building the last and more important visualization exercise of the whole project. I felt that way that no matter what, I was a bit closer to succeed, at least in my mind. Little did I know at the time of how important that image would be.
Jim was waiting for us with a ladder already on the water to help us get out of it and after that we had a conversation for a few minutes, shot several pictures and then San and I walked the 2.5 Km back to the car and quickly drove back to the park to get the kayak on the roof and went back to Guelph under the feeling that this swim would be much harder than we ever imagine.
More to come…