Despite the hoards who are entering the open bodies of water around the world, fear still plays a factor in the minds of many.
Here is what scares some people:
Sharks – 39% of total votes cast
Jellyfish/stingrays – 27%
Pollution – 24%
Things that cannot be seen – 21%
Cold water – 18%
Waves/currents/tides – 17%
Going off-course – 12%
Not finishing – 12%
Marine life other than sharks/jellyfish/stingrays – 11%
Nothing – 9%
Goggles coming off – 8%
Other – 7%
Physical contact by competitors – 7%
Not seeing the bottom – 4%
Seaweed/kelp – 4%
Everything – 2%
Vaseline/lanolin getting on goggles – 1%
You gotta respect those athletes who said, “Nothing.” Shelley Taylor-Smith, seven-time world professional champion and fearless solo marathon swimming adventurer, was one of those intrepid swimmer. “Absolutely nothing I fear,” which was understandable because she swam frequently in the company of sharks and was the first person to swim in a bikini in world swimming championship event. Why?
“I wore this bikini suit because of the jellyfish that were everywhere [in Perth’s Swan River]. I wanted to be able to let them out [of my suit]…or get them out with easy access and not disturb my mental focus and mindset which they are renowned for doing,” recalled Shelley with a smile.
“I won the race and gritted my teeth as I got stung.”
Upper photo shows Shelley Taylor-Smith fighting the waves, winds, currents, jellyfish and cold in the 22.5-mile Atlantic City Around-the-Island Marathon Swim.
Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association