I first met Jasmine Kremer through her dad, Peter. He and I swam together as youth. Jasmine swims for Tyee, a local youth club, and is an accomplished swimmer with a fabulous attitude. When COVID-19 struck both Jasmine and I no longer had access to our favourite pool. It was only a matter of time before our paths crossed in the lake.

I have been swimming with Jasmine for a few months now. Over that time we have developed a relationship rooted in our common passion for swimming and achieving goals. I like to think of it as friendship with a bit of open water guidance and mentorship.

In her own words

I remember it very vividly, March 16th, 2020. Standing in the lobby,  I halted at the exit doors. I just needed a minute to compose myself knowing that this would be my last swim here. My friend encouraged me to exit , but I stopped again. I remember saying,  Wait, wait, no! I don’t want to leave! I joked that we could hide out somewhere in the pool where no one could find us, but, a part of me was actually being serious. The next few days were hard on me mentally. I kept thinking about how all the goals I was going to achieve in the swim season that was no longer possible. Swimming was like an escape, no matter how bad your day was, you could always make it better when you jumped in the water. It was a hard pill to swallow when that was taken away.

In April, I got a wetsuit and started to swim in the lake. I was excited and worried all at the same time. I was never good with the cold, even in the summertime I wore fuzzy socks. I knew this was going to be a challenge. However, my willingness to swim overtook the fear of the cold. I took a leap of faith into that 12-degree water and swam. It was hard at first, I would lisp in my words, and my fingers would crumble. It was different too: much deeper, more obstacles, and sighting. 

I began to swim with more volume. I treated the lake like swim practice. I added kicking, other strokes, and change of speed. It was challenging to swim like this,(sometimes by myself), knowing that I could just stop at any time. There was still something missing: The art of competition and challenge. Sure, I could swim around the lake doing an average practice of 4 or 5 km, doing a sprint here and there, but it wasn’t the same as racing. I missed racing so much. 

I started to swim more with Susan Simmons and the Spirit Orcas. A lovable fun bunch with never a dull moment. Susan started to challenge me with distance, the first being 6km, then 9, and eventually, all the way up to 12 (so far that is). It was a new experience and different kind of swimming that gave me that competitive feeling once again. There was an aspect of mental toughness but presented differently. It’s a marathon telling you to never give up. I think this kind of swimming has helped me and will continue to help me as I continue my competitive swimming career in University Swimming. 

I am very lucky to be surrounded by support and love in this swimming community as we all help each other to reach a stronger version of ourselves.