Our Masters athletes are doing big things this summer. They have been putting the work in at practice, and it is paying off. Many have completed some of the world's most iconic swim feats, including the English Channel, Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim, and more. These experiences are giving us serious swimspiration.
Some responses have been edited for clarity.
Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim: Ross Paterson and Fleur Sohtz
"Every year I set a personal athletic goal that requires me to balance work, family, and friends with an outlet that brings me closer to another bucket list achievement. I decided to swim the Bosphorus, an iconic swim and achievable goal during my recovery process from shoulder surgery. Now, I can officially say I'm a cross-continental swimmer! The experience was awesome and humbling. I wouldn't have been able to do this without my outstanding coaches, teammates, friends, family, and colleagues; you cheered for me, supported me, pushed me, and laughed with (and at) me throughout the process. On race day, it was a huge help to have a friendly AGUA face on the boat, who helped calm my fears when jumping off the pontoon, which is much higher than you’d think (thank you, Ross!).
I felt proud to represent my country, and especially NYC. When I completed the swim, I simultaneously felt accomplished, disappointed, and motivated. I was excited to have completed such an incredible race, yet disappointed because I wasn't tired when I got out of the water. I was overly cautious about protecting my shoulder, and I didn't push myself the way I normally would during a race. I now know that my shoulder is in great shape, and I'm motivated to get back out there and really push myself to see what I can do. To celebrate, I spent five days indulging at a resort in Southern Turkey." –Fleur Sohtz
English Channel: Karen Einsidler and Jenny Cook
(Completed swim with Mighty Mermaids, six swimmers who travel the world tackling various challenges.)
"We decided to do English Channel because it is the last swim in the triple crown of open water swimming. It was very challenging and a bonding experience for the Mermaids. It was amazing to see the resilience and strength of many of the Mermaids. Reaching the finish line was extremely exhilarating and emotional. The most memorable part of the day was seeing some extraordinary jelly fish, the likes of which we had only seen in aquariums. The finish, of course, was the memory that will last with us forever. We were all permitted to join our teammate on shore who finished the swim, and we stood in a row, held hands, and extended them up in the air in triumph! When we got back to the hotel, champagne was waiting. The most memorable part of the day was seeing some extraordinary jelly fish, the likes of which we had only seen in aquariums. The finish, of course, was the memory that will last with us forever!"
Trans Tahoe Relay: Jackie Fasano
"My college teammates and I decided to sign up for the Trans Tahoe relay at a wedding last year, and I'd never been to Lake Tahoe before! I did not realize how cold the water temperature was before I registered. The cold water temperature was my main concern because wetsuits are not allowed, but it turned out to be warm this year at 60 degrees, and the adrenaline and cheers from my teammates really helped a lot. Most of my teammates had not done much swimming since college, which was nine years ago, but we all survived. It was such a beautiful day, and the water is clear and crystal blue with 75 feet of visibility. It is the nicest open water swim I've ever done, and I loved the camaraderie among all of the teams competing. I highly recommend this race!"
Montauk Ocean Swim Challenge: Jonathan Horowitz
"I do the Montauk Ocean Swim Challenge every year. It is a beautiful, well-supported ocean swim with a local feel. After, I felt pretty tired but was happy to finish strong, which was my goal. I celebrated with a protein smoothie and a killer barbecue at my house. The most memorable part of the day was finally checking my phone and finding texts from my wife wondering if I was OK."
English Channel Double Crossing: Brad McVetta
photo credit: Jozef Koppleman
"Swimming open water has provided me with opportunity to travel and meet great people while I see the world. I love swimming and it gives me some purpose. The English Channel has an aura about it that beckons swimmers from around the world with aspirations to cross it. You feel the energy when you arrive in Dover and walk down to harbor for a training swim. During the swim, you experience both a Zen-like meditation and a raging war, fighting for your life as your emotions and carry you through the challenges of the swim and your mind.
You walk into the water with an expectation, but the ocean is unpredictable and the swim takes on new and different life each time. I was presented with challenges and became a better swimmer. For more than a year, I wondered if I could turn back to swim more, and I did. I won't forget swimming onto the beach of France with Jasmine, receiving a pep talk, then deciding to swim more and the pure joy when Gilles jumped off the boat into the water to attach LED lights to my goggles. I was happy when I got out. I felt accomplished with what I had completed and was excited upon learning how I beat my previous best. The soreness goes away quickly."
IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant: Tara McWilliams
"I completed my first full-distance Ironman in 2016 in Mont-Tremblant, and I knew I wanted to go back ever since. The course is beautiful, and there is such a positive race atmosphere. This is a race I’ll remember with a smile on my face. I was excited to arrive at the start line healthy and eager to put it all out there on the race course! My favorite part of the race was seeing friendly faces. It’s always helpful to hear a cheer or receive a high-five to give you that extra push toward the finish line. When I finished, I experienced so many emotions—excited for my first age group win, thankful to my coach, family, and teammates for their support, and relieved that the day went according to plan."