After wowing the audience at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference in a keynote address, Craig Dietz took to the sea at the Swim Across America event in Long Beach on Sunday. Dietz attempted to swim 10km for the first time in his life. “I do not want to look back and not try something,” said the Limbless Waterman.
His paddler was Catalina Channel swimmer Hank Wise of Long Beach, a Stanford graduate who has been around water all his life.
The surfer/swimmer explained, “We just met at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference and kicked it off right away.” But swimming in salt water on the Pacific Ocean led to unexpected consequences. Dietz undulates on his back to move forward. “I founded myself floating higher in the water. I was making a lot more splash,” said Dietz. “Then with all the adrenalin, I went out pretty fast on the first lap. It was bright [under the sunny skies] and I am staring at the sun all day. On the second loop, I was not bouncing back from my feeds, but Hank was talking me through the swim. Hank and I were talking a lot out there.”
The profound bond between was immediately apparent. Like two old friends meeting after several years, the duo didn’t miss a beat despite only meeting each other two days before.
“I kept him right on the line,” said Wise who was paddling alongside Dietz from beginning to end. “He was strong. We were instabros out there. But when he tired, we figured that we would finish with dignity.”
“He was singing Rocky out there for me,” recalled Dietz who was grinning from ear to ear. “Just trying to get me fired up…”
As Dietz crossed the 5km mark, he kept on going. But he knew deep inside that he had reached his limit on this day. “I had some significant muscle soreness on my left side that I never had before. I really altered my kick and body position to compensate for the salt water, using muscles differently than I did normally. Hey it was the furthest [time duration] that I have ever swum. 3.1 miles, pretty good,” summed up Dietz about his own performance.
“Overall though, I was not too disappointed about backing off the 10K. I think it was the right thing to do on that day, but I know I’ve got a 10K in me. I count myself very lucky to be in a position where I can consider a 5k swim a failure.”
It was outstanding to say the least. An outstanding inspiration.
Photo by Howard Jordan shows Hank Wise and Craig Dietz at end of their swim.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Swimming