Triathlete and lifelong competitive swimmer Marianne Jordan, Bowdoin’s Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, relates what she thinks about when she’s in the water, swimming far offshore.
“I really feel one with the water. I just see the curve of the ocean and I feel the water is my world. If you can get with the water’s rhythm, get your breathing down into a regular pattern, it’s very relaxing. You do have to lift your head occasionally to sight, to make sure you are swimming straight and not off to Ireland. I felt that relaxation yesterday at Simpson’s Point even though the water was churning.
“And you have to discipline your imagination. I shut my eyes when I’m under water. I really don’t want to see what’s down there. If you engage your imagination it brings up anxiety and that overcomes your ability to swim. But there’s a Zen-like thing you can do if you feel panic: Count 1-2-3, breathe. Or just be aware of every stroke. I feel my hand going into the water and pulling, then I think of my next hand pulling. That way your anxiety can’t race ahead of you.
“The breakthrough is feeling one with the water, as cliche as that sounds. I swim with a group of people and we like to swim at 5:30 in the morning, when no one’s around. When you get in the ocean it’s just electric. You’re buoyant, there’s motion and you’re part of this energy that is water.”