I WANTED to be an Olympian as a kid. I wanted to travel the world swimming for my country. Not because I was patriotic, or to win Gold medals, but because, to me, the Olympics were as far as swimming could go. And I wanted to go there.
In America, it was the norm to learn to swim, so I did. Then I trained. And trained. And competed. And even won. Ribbon upon ribbon, until my dream to travel the world came true, but not anything like I imagined.
I moved to Ireland, a place where I knew no one, and nothing. A whole new continent asking me to design a new life from scratch.
I joined gyms, tried to learn to sew and make dresses, moved around houses, jobs, and put roots down in Dublin, where, for the first time in my life, I lived near the sea and mountains.
I was young and fearless, but still just me – and my relationship with self. Then a lot changed.
I started swimming again. I joined an open sea swimming club, and all of a sudden, that itching urge to flit from hobby to hobby, evaporated.
I chose Dublin Swimming Club because training was close by, but I stayed because the people are a new kind of crazy, swimming family.
I like waking up on the weekends with a lift to the sea for a dip or a swim.
Swimming grounds me into better habits that are different from what I would be doing otherwise
Yes, I do go out for the odd Friday night session, but I am a more fulfilled person when I have someone to meet up for a swim with during the week instead.
I set goals and meet them thanks to the swimmers I’ve met.
I see parts of the country I otherwise would only have seen from land, or probably never at all.
I have a connection with the sea I never knew existed before; I don’t just see the sea or a beach anymore, I see everything else around it and want to dive in. I honestly love the freedom of sea swimming.
I find calm in the strokes and adrenaline in the sprints. Happiness in the motion, and awe at those around me.
Swimming is part of me, where so ever I go, or whatever I become. It’s how I connected to people; As more than someone’s partner, teacher, neighbour, expat.
I’m a swimmer when I’m with swimmers. I’m defined by what I do, and not by labels.
So, I did not become an Olympian, but I did travel the world, and I am so glad that swimming came with me.
Melanie Anderson – Water Human
And what couldn’t you swim without?My Arena Sprint goggles. I love the fit, how they resist water, and that they are, for me, the goggles I can rely on. I have them in blue, clear, and polarised styles. I love them, and they love anti-fog spray. I didn’t even know it existed until I took to open water! We’ll talk about that another day!