In the wake of Covid-19, we’re living in uncertain times. We’re isolated. We’re worried about our health and the health of those we love. We’re anxious about the future.

For many of us, it’s hard to deal with such profound uncertainty. For open water swimmers, uncertainty is present every time they step into a massive, untamed body of water. Open water swimmers can never be certain about the outcome of a swim. They’re always at the mercy of many elements outside of their control, from waves, to weather, to wildlife, to simply finding the will to keep swimming.

Life isn’t a swimming pool, with lanes to follow and water that’s always heated to a comfortable temperature.

Life is an ocean full of unpredictability and difficulty. But after each swim, we emerge from the water stronger and more capable.

At Swim Guide, we’ve been asking open water swimmers how they deal with uncertainty and sharing their advice about how they’re making it through these turbulent times.

Today, we’re speaking to Loren King

Loren King is a marathon swimmer who has swam across Lake Ontario and the English Channel. Loren, along with Madhu Nagaraja, is a founding member of the Great Lakes Trust, and Great Lakes Open Water Swimming (GLOW). He is also a Swim Drink Fish ambassador. Loren is a political philosopher and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Loren King swimming the English Channel. Photo by Andrew King

Here’s how Loren King deals with uncertainty…

Swimming is a contemplative enterprise. There’s uncertainty in the sense that things can change–such is life.

But you’re never really alone.

You have the crew with you, you have the boat escorting you, you have people you trust watching out for you. One of the solaces I take in marathon swimming is that we’re always with people who support us and look after us. And we look after them.

Loren King's Lake Ontario swim in 2016. Photo courtesy of Eileen Luxton and Andrew King

There’s a strong ethos of giving back in the marathon swimming community.

For every swim you do, you want to help someone else do their swim. Half the time we’re crew, half the time we’re swimming.

We take a lot of solace in these networks of friends and fellow adventurists to support us, and our obligation to support them. We’re all in it together.

Loren King's English Channel swim. Photo by Andrew King

We’re stuck alone in our houses with our 6 feet of distance, but we’re doing it because we’re looking out for each other.

There’s a fun parallel to open water swimming: When we’re stuck in the water we’re never really alone, but on the other hand, we can never be touched. We cannot touch the boat, and no one can touch us. But we’re still together!

Loren King's Lake Ontario swim in 2016. Photo courtesy of Eileen Luxton and Andrew King

I don’t think deep thoughts while I’m swimming. It’s more meditative. I do it to get away from thinking.

When you’re open water swimming, you’re often wrestling with doubts and frustrations and wanting to get out. But you find reasons to stay in.

Read Loren King’s interview with Swim Drink Fish president, Mark Mattson, here.


Find out how other open water swimmers deal with uncertainty by checking out the other articles in this series

Learn how to deal with Covid-19 uncertainty: Go with the flow with open water swimmer Marilyn Bell

Learn how to deal with Covid-19 uncertainty: Do your research with long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox

Learn how to deal with Covid-19 uncertainty: Just breathe with Eney Jones

Learn how to deal with Covid-19 uncertainty: Strengthen your coping muscles with Liz Fry

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