Loch Ness

Finding Courage By Swimming with Heart

I get asked a lot “what has been your hardest swim?”  Its really hard to answer that question since each swim is different and has its own unique challenge (s).

What I do know is that Loch Ness will be the coldest swim 22 mile swim I’ll do and that makes it a top contender for the hardest swim.  Every once in awhile during a quiet moment, I feel angst about the swim. What works for me to lessen the fear is to think about who I’m trying to help and how grateful I am for everyone who has, in any way, helped and supported me.

These eloquent words from John O’Donohue are a poetic version of finding courage for my swim across Loch Ness.  

Maybe this will resonate with others no matter the challenge.

“When the light around you lessens, and your thoughts darken until your body feels fear, turn cold as a stone inside, when you find yourself bereft of any belief in yourself, and all you unknowingly learned has fallen, when one voice commands your whole heart, it is a raven dark.

Steady yourself and see that it's your own thinking that darkens your world. Search and you will find a diamond thought of light. Know that you are not alone and that this darkness has purpose. Gradually it will school your eyes to find the one gift your life requires hidden within this night corner. Invoke learning of every suffering you have suffered. Close your eyes. Gather all the kindling about your heart to create one spark.”

My kindling is a school full of Afghan kids.  


From: To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

Swimming Loch Ness by Way of Alcatraz

It all started with the 2006 SERC International Alcatraz swim. My compulsion to swim in open water progressed to a full fledged addiction in which I am unable to look at a body of water and not wonder what it would be like to swim in it or to swim across it.  My mother told me that she used to do this too when she was younger...it's generic :-)

Even though I haven’t seen Loch Ness in person, it captured my imagination and I signed up to swim the length in August, 2017. The photos of Loch Ness show glassy, dark water nestled in the beautiful Scottish highlands with an ancient castle on its banks.  The thought of a friendly creature added to the mystique.  It sank into my psyche the way Monterey Bay did in 2011 when I decided to swim across that bay. 

I love the challenge open water swimming and completing marathon swims.  Loch Ness will be about 54 degrees (if I’m lucky) and I’ll be swimming in black water.  No dancing light like you find in Tahoe, Donner or Monterey Bay. This will pose a bit of a mental challenge on top of swimming 22 miles without a tidal push. My crew is already acquiring hats and costumes to keep us all laughing across the loch.  There is no shortage of Nessie wear for them to choose from.

Everyone has their own passion and drive to do a major swim.  My drive is to help others while I complete the swim adventure. Swimming the length of Loch Ness is an opportunity to raise funds for Trust in Education, an organization that I’m passionate about.  

Trust in Education has made education a high priority in war torn Afghanistan by developing schools, building community learning centers, sponsoring street children to attend school, and providing after school classes.  My goal is to raise $100,000 for Trust in Education.   I have tutored refugee kids in the bay area and know of the dire circumstances kids face in Afghanistan.

Education is the best course for these kids and the best chance for stability and peace.  Nothing I experience during a swim compares to difficulty they face. The thought of helping them and providing hope gets me through the dark moments on my swims.  There is always a dark moment or two, so I think about them a lot.

I’ve had the good fortune of being born into a family that emphasized and invested in my education and I feel compelled to play that forward.  100% of donations goes to Trust in Education.