Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
Canadian Caroline Walker transformed herself, admittedly, from being obese to living the life of an athlete.
“This journey for me is about the process. It’s about who I become,” she explains.
Walker’s dreams include swimming across Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island in Canada’s British Columbia first and then become one of the few humans to swim across the treacherous Strait of Juan de Fuca between the U.S. and Canada.
“That is the dream, but what’s most important to me is the character that I am building and the relationships that I am making. Since choosing to no longer to live as an obese person, I have become who I’m designed to be: an athlete.”
It is not an easy journey, transforming oneself from living a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. It requires a deep faith in oneself, a courage to change, and strength to continue. “I’m manifesting what I believe. When I get up in the morning now, I get up in the morning with a purpose and I walk with a different step.”
But Walker chooses to believe in herself. “If you want to make it happen, you have to take personal responsibility to make it happen. You have to have faith and believe in yourself. You have to develop a new type of spirit. You have to unquestionably believe in your abilities, in your cause and in your beliefs.”
It was and is never easy. “From a size 26 to an athlete and a marathon swimmer, I was a whopping 239 pounds in 2010. Something had to change.”
And change she did. “I hired a personal trainer and we got right to work. Initially when I started this journey, I wanted to cycle across Canada and live a life-long dream. [But] in 2012 I broke my ankle. This would change everything. Desiring to remain true to the journey, I took up swimming with a club to try and help maintain weight loss and rehab my ankle. I started swim the local lakes to rehab and discovered in the open water, I become at one with it and it is my Zen…it’s my happy place.
When I took to Elk Lake with my brace on, I discovered that I could swim a few times across it; there and back without being tired. I thought hmmm, maybe I am onto something. I read about marathon swimmers and I was instantly hooked. I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
This month, she began training with Cody Flegel and Dave Creel. “Those coaches know how to make a girl work. I swim 5 km or more a day and I have gone from a size 26 to a size 12 and I am still going strong.”
For more information on Caroline Walker, visit here.
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association