When I do searches on open water swimming, more times than not the advice seems to be geared towards triathletes who want to "survive the swim."
Which is cool. I want everyone to survive their swims. And unfortunately, it doesn't always happen.
What gets to me about it isn't that it's recognized that yes, there are dangers inherent in open water swimming. So there are, and it's important to be aware of them.
It's more that when you're dealing with triathlete advice, the advice is about getting through the damn swim so you can get to your bike. It's about the race. It's about getting through this unpleasant thing you're not all that great at to get to the good stuff at which you're competent.
That's not where I'm coming from with swimming. I genuinely, no kidding, swim because I am a total waterbaby, only run if chased, find that bike seats hurt my butt, and in general find most land based exercise (barring dance, martial arts and weight lifting) considerably less interesting than knitting or reading.
I love the water. I love being in the water. I love the challenge of seeing if I can cope with cold water. I am excited about the challenge of dealing with unpredictable weather conditions, and learning new swimming skills.
Well, yes, that's the plan. But I do it to glory in it. Because it's fun.
It seems that except for a very small group of marathon swimmers (and even they are far more competitive than I ever intend to get!) open water swimming is becoming one third of a triathlon event rather than an activity in its own right. I say activity rather than sport. I do it to do it, not to compete at it.
It's not that I have anything against triathlons. Totally don't. Don't have anything against other people being into hang gliding or mountain climbing, either. It's just not my bag.
But, as with anything else, I find myself really on the periphery. I'm a swimmer who loves to swim and is only trying to be better than one person.