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By Natacha Visconti | view profile
The long car queue did not allow us to drive all the way to the entrance of América Camping-Site, where a new edition of the aquatic marathon - “The dolphins’ reunion” - was about to take place in San Pedro. The heat was oppressive but in spite of that, we put on the swimsuit and smoothed sunprotection and vaseline on the body, and with the cap and goggles in hand, we got on the busses which would take us to the take-off for the seven-kilometer race.
The air-conditioning was not on. It is said that it was because we were reluctant to close the windows although the sweat– as a result of the heat – was streaming down our half-naked bodies (maybe, the busses were not equipped with air-condition and we were told that to keep ourselves cool).
We felt more nervous as we got close to the take-off. Once inside the water, everything remained behind. It was sheer pleasure. We took a dip in the water and squelched for a while until the coast guard siren blew loudly. Take-off was just as many other times, a bit chaotic at the beginning - with some kicks here and there; yet, I could quickly find my own pace and above all, a place in the river where to swim comfortably.
The water was delighful. I could regulate the high temperature of my body under the sun with the coolness of the dark river. I could immediately find a pace and placed myself among the bunch of swimmers - we shared all the route downstream until the “big grey ship”, which would mark the finishing line, the end of the race.
Being my last race with Swimmers team - for the time being, but I guess not for a long time - added on value to this challenge.
Swimming was intense, the breathing sound created a rythm I had to change every now and then, another combination which would renew the air and let me move on. To swim longer, to stretch further ahead with each stroke, to speed up, to measure out and recover strength.
I soon realized I was in the final sprint and looking for the buoys so as not to swim further past. A foot buried in the mud, then the other; and there they were my mates camera in hand and ready to hug me, and a table displaying small glasses of water and some peaches to recover energy.
What took place afterwards was a big celebration with friends, drinks and delicacies. The award ceremony took long to come but the afternoon was inviting us to remain by the river and delay our way back home to the big city. That is what we did and remained by the riverbank lying down on the sand until the night took over and the moon illuminated the river.