Never Again!!!

This is what I said when I practically dragged myself out of the water after the swim on Saturday, and then I said it again and again after I finished the race…

So as I’m sure you can figure out I didn’t drown although I came pretty close to it.  I had the whole day to work myself up into a bit of a froth because the event only started at 15:00 which was just enough time for the wind to pick up and create waves, complete with white horses on the Clanwilliam dam which is where we were doing the swim – and damn did the buoys we have to swim around look far away!!

At the start I stood back and allowed the faster, more professional looking people to go ahead.  About 100 metres from shore I took in a lungful of water and then went into a flat panic because I couldn’t breathe, I was being swum over by other participants, swamped by waves and I couldn’t see the support boat.  So after bobbing around trying to get my breath back and fighting back the tears I managed to calm myself and carry on heading in the direction which was nowhere near shore.  Luckily I struck up a conversation with 2 other swimmers who were just behind me who had had a similar experience – apparently most first timers “almost drown” – not so sure about that but there you go…

I came in nowhere near the front and absolutely exhausted after swimming breaststroke the whole way because I was too scared to put my face back into the water.  I managed to redeem myself by passing a few people on the bike and run legs although when I crossed the finish line I wasn’t feeling fabulous and was a bit zoned out for the rest of the evening.

Today, as I write this I’m making plans to collect a swimming schedule to follow on my own now that my swimming lessons are done.  I’m not sure if I want to compete in any more triathlons because I was seriously shaken on Saturday – which probably means that the Half Ironman will have to go on the back burner, but I’m going to keep trying with this swimming thing to get over that fear of whatever it is that seems to want to consume me when I think about open water swimming!

Preparing at the start

Preparing at the start


  1. Philip van Gass says:

    Hi Candice,

    When I started reading this entry I thought it was the Midmar Mile you were writing about, which I have completed twice before. How far did you have to swim ? I know how frightening swimming in open water can be ! I have had a few scary moments myself when I was younger in the waters around Durban. I am glad that you have not been discouraged from participating in other events like this. Maybe swimming the Midmar Mile will help you or even just swimming in the surf, although the waves around Cape Town are not all that scary. Try Brighton Beach off the Bluff in Durban !!!

    By the way I slashed 1 minute and 15 seconds off my 10km. time at the Eskom race on Wednesday. Things are looking up.


  2. Cands says:

    Hi Richard, I hear you about getting back on that horse – got my swimming stuff with me today so that I can hit the pool after work, far from the open water but at least I’m stubborn enough to get over this thing.

  3. Cands says:

    Fred, thanks so much for the encouraging words they really do mean a lot to me 🙂

  4. Fred says:

    Wow Candice! HUGE kudos to you for finishing after that swimming incident…Sounds like it was absolutely terrifying, especially for someone who is not a natural born swimmer.

    I know this is nothing compared to your gazillion mile Comrades run, but I have to say I’m truly impressed with your strength (inner strength)and how damn gutsy you are! Sounds corny, I know…but you are definitely an inspiration! Whether or not you do another triathlon really doesn’t matter…what matters is you ‘made your own luck’ and took this on with everything you had.

    Can’t do any better than that.

    Congratulations, Candice!


  5. Richard Mackey says:

    This sounds like a “Get right back on that horse” situation, except I haven’t been in the open ocean to swim since I was a kid, and even then not far out, so I’m a bad one to be giving advice on the subject. But I think if you made it the first time, it’ll be easier the next time, and man, will you be FIT!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *