Who would have thought that those few tentative lessons with my dad (Bill Sherman) would have led to the wonderful career that i now have. My dad from the time i was very young, introduced and fuelled my love of swimming, one of my earliest memoires was swimming across the Moselle river with my dad on a camping holiday!
My love of the water is well known, it brings me to life, gives me life and makes life what it is for me today. It helps me breathe, others turn to music, they dance, they sing, they cook, they eat...for me its the water, its healing, warming even at its lowest temperatures, the mind slows, the body accepts its caress, the breathing becomes easier, for me to swim is a blessing, water really is the giver of life. How do you express a feeling that is all encompassing, so overpowering that it can not be compared with any other emotion, to not swim for me is to not breathe.
My history of swimming is diverse and i have been lucky to swim in some of the world's most amazing waters, Australia and Mauritius to name a few. Regardless of the location, although it has to be admitted some are better than others, its the water that draws me. The wildlife, fresh air, conditions and temperature are all part of the challenge, i have raced, swam at leisure and enjoyed every minute of it. And now i am lucky enough to be able to help others to do the same.
Swimming brings me in contact with some amazing people as well, from those that are just starting out on their aquatic journey to those like me who consider it a way of life. It is amazing to see the transformation of fearful of the unknown, to competing and not forgetting those that want to laze in amazing places and let the sun warm them as they swim. There are also the ultra swimmers, those that do the channel, most of whom do it for charity. Words cant express the instant satisfaction of seeing a swimmer become at one with the water, the grin is spontaneous, the 'wows' a blessing to the ear....and then the ultimate words....'can i do it again', music to the ears. To coach any person and help them discover a love of water is the rare privilege of a coach, the open water tends to bring out all your vulnerabilities, it exposes emotions and brings them to the surface. For most the open water gives them the chance to be themselves, to please them selves and induces a sense of achievement regardless of whether you have swam 100 metres or 100 miles, in water of 20 degrees or 2, we all go through the same process of development and as a coach to be a part of that is exceptional - i am one of the lucky ones, i genuinely love my work!
Swimming solo is special, and yes i do know that some condone it, however, the joys of finding that special spot where nobody goes and dipping in is like finding hidden gold amongst the mountains, equally the fun and giggles not to mention the shared memories when swimming with others can make for many a special day out. As with most open water swimmers the tag line should be ' just add water!' we can have fun in a teaspoon of water if its there to get in!!! The advancements of technology mean that now we can record our dips and dives with underwater cameras and Go-pro's, i love mine and use them constantly. As a swimmer its wonderful to get a picture of yourself swimming and if taken unexpectedly, can form a great surprise.