Why did you become a marathon swimmer?

bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
edited April 2012 in General Discussion
30 years ago I could swim a fast (?) 5K and liked to swim in the ocean. So I decided to give it a go (but life got in the way) It's a good thing I didn't know then what I do now about what it takes.


  • IronMikeIronMike inch.houseboat.primeCharter Member
    I heard about marathon swimming too late unfortunately. I don't mean my age; I mean too late to take advantage of the places I've been stationed. I was stationed twice in NW Florida (Ft Walton Beach) and even in Monterey, CA, so I could have taken advantage of close races (Pensacola) and clubs (Kelp Krawlers).
    I'm an adult-onset swimmer, starting masters in 2003. But I only really heard of marathon swimming after I'd been stationed here in Russia. That was a little over 2 years ago.
    I guess I became a marathon swimmer because I realized I like the freedom of no lines or flip-turns. And then after my first OW swim, I realized I loved the chaos of the start and the technical aspects of the sport (navigation, drafting, etc).


    Where the hell is IronMike located? Find out here: https://what3words.com/

  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member
    Because I'm crazy? :-)
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited April 2012
    Went to Sandycove and became friends with a bunch of loons who brainwashed me into joining their Cult.
  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DECharter Member
    I grew up spending summers in the pinelands of New Jersey, home to the Jersey Devil...perhaps a small part of me thought, JD likes to fly but he's afraid of water...perfect escape route! In a nutshell, that blurb explains what @ssthomas said above!
  • Been swimming the 500/1000/1650 FOREVER but can't do a start or flip turn to save my life, and LOVE being outside. Easy answer :)
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    I have just returned to swimming after a long hiatus and began last summer with Masters and triathlons - I found that I loved the open water and the variety of lakes where I competed. This interest quickly mushroomed into local, then regional, Open Water swim competitions. I would rather swim in a lake, the ocean or a river, but pool swimming obviously has its place in training and in seasonal availability. Those of us who love the experience of swimming in open water understand what it is that attracts us to it - I personally get lost in thought and feel a freedom that I experience nowhere else. I am not a Marathon Swimmer yet, but am working toward that and will do my first 10 miler this summer. According to a previous post, I think that would qualify me!
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Charter Member
    See the world, meet amazing new friends and raise money for those who are less fortunate! It will provide some great stories to tell my grand-kids some day by the fire :)

    www.darren-miller.com Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CACharter Member
    found it a more direct route to get to the other side than just sitting

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • BillBill Member
    I needed to get back in shape, I've always been a crappy sprinter and I really didn't feel like taking up running.
  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    For me I think it was the thought that popped in my head each time I finished the longest swim I'd ever done "I bet I could go a little further..."
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 2012
    For the money and fame, of course!
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    i was going to say I'm not sure if I even AM a marathon swimmer, then realised I have the ability to turn any swim into what seems like a marathon...
    I'm like IronMike and only took up swimming as a sport in 2003, after moving from Australia to Chicago. I always spent a lot of time playing in the surf but after realising how much I love continuous swimming, I'm hooked and want to do it as much as possible. The idea of spending a whole day indoors at a swim meet, paying money to spend as little time as possible in the concrete hole makes no sense at all. I also love the touristy part of marathon (or any OW) swimming. I love seeing places from the water.
  • swam a long time ago and then laid off for nearly 30 years and then ran into a major health issue that brought me back to the water. I have to say swimming in a pool is no fun at all but hitting the open water is like being set free. I guess I like the feel of having to deal with what the elements through at you be it good or bad.
  • JanetJanet NYCMember
    I was mainly a (masters) pool swimmer until fall of 2010, when--horrors--there were no local meets on the calendar, and no good travel meets that worked with my schedule. I needed something to train for, and CIBBOWS happened to be hosting some crazy 5K swim at Coney Island . . . in November! At the time both the water temp and the distance seemed daunting. But I started going out to the beach every week to train, and discovered I liked it. A whole lot. I've been hooked ever since. Thanks CIBBOWS!
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    My 50 is for crap and started dating a marathon swimmer.
  • SalishSeaSalishSea Nanaimo, BC CanadaMember
    As an adult onset swimmer I new I would never be fast so "If you can't go fast go far!" I also love to day dream and it's so easy to get lost in my imagination while plodding along.
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    I have a whole list of MSF members to blame. How long have you got?
  • I'm too young and handsome for golf.
  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member
    I'm not one yet. But the idea that there's a badass sport I don't have to get skinny for is really attractive.
  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member
    I didn't have to be fast or skinny.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    I've had 10+K swims on my to-do list for 20 years and lots of people are faster than me for about 200 yards.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • j9swimj9swim new york Senior Member
    it wasn't a conscious decision to do this. it just snowballed from quitting the 'should' exercises (running, classes, etc.) to only doing something that made me happy and that was the water. I started swimming laps alone in a pool and within 3 months signed up for an OWS. now i just do it for the shock and awe
  • andissandiss Senior Member
    Because running is painful and cycling involves to much gear - plus its antisocial i.e. when you are training - you can't swim and talk!!

  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaSenior Member
    I became a marathon swimmer to help manage Multiple Sclerosis. About 10 years ago I was pretty weak and getting weaker by the day. The doctors at the time had told me not to exercise or I could trigger another MS attack. The "do-nothing" method didn't seem to be working, in fact I was getting worse, so I decided to reacquaint myself with swimming after a 25 year hiatus. I started in the pool soon realizing that swimming fast put too much pressure on my body and caused issues with MS so switched to long distance swimming and eventually made my way to the lake and ocean.

    The open water provides me with freedom, the freedom to exercise and be healthy. That is why I became a marathon swimmer.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    It was unavoidable, as I make every swim feel like a marathon.
  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember
    For the enjoyment of swimming a bit further, a bit faster and feeling a big stronger. I've loved every moment of the challenge and it's given me an enjoyable new interest in mid life.
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member
    Because it scares the shit out of me
  • Cole_GCole_G PhiladelphiaMember
    For me it started from being a competitive swimmer most of my life. After I left my college swim team in my 3rd year of studies I quickly found that eating like a swimmer, without training like a swimmer is a bad bad idea. I gained over 20 lbs in only about 2 months. So I decided I needed to get back into a sport, so I decided to try my hand at triathlon. I did a number of triathlons for a year or so, and was decently successful at them, but my body clearly wasn't made to function on land. In each of my first 4 tris I hurt myself (not muscular injuries, but actual cuts and bruises from clumsiness) over the next year I suffered a couple muscular injuries from over training on land. So after the last injury I decided land just wasn't for me.

    I had done one or 2 open water 5k's in high school, and had really enjoyed all the open water swims in my triathlons, so I decided to try a legit open water race. I did the Little Red Lighthouse 10.2k in 2013, and I was immediately hooked. I knew then, that I was an OWS swimmer. So I did a bunch of races in 2014, including my first 10 miler at the Kingdom swim in Vermont. Now I know that 10 miles isn't quite on par with the insane swims some of you maniacs on this forum have done, but it was enough to convince me that I am just as crazy as the rest of you. So now I am a marathon swimmer, and am greatly looking forward to trying bigger and badder swims in the future :)
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    I haven't quite reached the exalted status of "marathon swimmer," but at 5.4 miles, I'm maybe getting a little closer. I entered a race that at first I thought much too long and each time I did it thought "never again!" So I'm planning to do it this year. Running doesn't hurt enough, is I think the answer. ;) Seriously, the satisfaction of lasting as long in the water as some folks do in land marathons attracted me in a twisted sort of way. 50 thousand people might run a marathon on a given day. If things go south, it's easy enough to step off the course (had to do it a couple times due to injury). But if you're swimming, sure, you can step out, get into a boat if need be--yet it's more complicated and so it's push on until you can't or until you reach land. It calls for a different level of commitment to the event. And this is very intriguing to me. These days too, I can endure longer in water than on land. I still enjoy running and running in races--logistically simpler, and there are more opportunities--but the water keeps calling me back to itself.
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member
    @dpm50: There's also the rising sea levels to think about.
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