Why Open Water Swimming Is Like American Airlines


This year alone, we have already flown over 100,000 air miles covering solo swims and open water swimming events around the world. There have been delays and cancelled flights, lost luggage and rude staff, turbulence and bad movies.

With the crowded skies becoming even more crowded, we see flying as a great experience for what you can expect in the open water.

Why? You can expect the unexpected with the American domestic airlines and in the open water.

The similarities go beyond surface chop and air turbulence. There are missed connections and missed tides, cancelled flights and cancelled swims. There are delayed flights that remind us of postponed swims and missed windows that both ultimately lead to additional costs. Lost luggage reminds us of equipment malfunctions, and weather can impact both the friendly skies and open water swims.

The long intercontinental journeys on a 777 or the short prop plane jumps from city to city remind us of the differences between a long marathon swim and a short around-the-pier race. In the first, you settle in and prepare for long hours. The other is short and intense.

We are reminded how food never tastes as good, either en route in an airplane or in the water. We are reminded that food and drink are delivered by flight attendants in the air and by support crew in the water. Coffee, tea, or water?

We are reminded that before you board an airplane or set off in the open water, your final destination always seems so far away. The uncomfortableness of an economy class seat leads to aches like a long, rough water swim. But a first-class seat is like a downstream swim in water of the perfect temperature.

But whether you travel by plane or are self-propelled in the water, getting safely to your destination is always a welcomed outcome.

Photos show Ashley Twichell in various sleeping positions on a long flight.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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