As the international group of dozens of swimmers, kayakers, volunteers, and organizers hike their way to the Saguaro Lake in the desert oasis of Arizona, they have to deal with not only the desert footing, but also jet lag.

Most of the field has either flown in not only from all around the world including Europe (Ned Denison) and Roger Finch (Africa), but also throughout the United States (Liz Fry from Connecticut and Mo Siegel from New York). A handful have driven at least 6 hours through the night (Grace van der Byl) to also make the 7 am start time.

We are always reminded how the effects of jet lag feel during the morning of a swim.

We feel groggy and a bit disoriented, but we always feel better when traveling from East to West, rather than from West to East.

When we travel from West to East, we feel slightly cheated because the amount of sleep time is reduced. But the reverse is not the case. For example, a morning swim at 8 am on the East Coast of the United States is really a 5 am start time for the West Coast swimmer whose body clock is messed up. Conversely, the same 8 am start time in Arizona is a really 11 am start time for the East Coasters. It doesn’t seem fair.

However, when swimmers come from Down Under, those poor Australian and New Zealand swimmers really have to deal with a lot of body adjustments. But as Dave Barra says, “Once I get going in the water, I am ready to go.” As do most open water swimmers, especially those who are following the wake of Kent Nicholas, the creator of the four-day stage swim known as the Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge.

At 7 am today, the 66.9 km (41.7-mile) stage swim begins.

Arizona S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge 2012 from Kent Nicholas on Vimeo. Photo above from inaugural S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge shows some of the crew and a few competitors including Dave Barra, Janet Harris and Kent Nicholas.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association