12-Hour Swim in Zurich, Switzerland
- 12-Hour Swim in Zurich
Last Sunday a large group of girls hit the road by Chandrama (that's the name of the Mountain-Silence van) to Heidelberg to visit and meditate at Pujaloy. Meanwhile we became accustomed to have lunch at the Effulgence-Waves restaurant after the two-hour meditation session and so we drove there and met some other disciples that were already feasting on delicious meals prepared by a boys' cooking crew. Patiently we waited our turns to order a meal and so helped our stomachs stop rumbling. We whiled away some time by chatting about this and that when Vasanti approached our large table to inform us about the latest news: The photos of the 12-hour Swim were available to view at the Sri Chinmoy website. She looked at me in a way that spoke volumes and later as we drove on the highway towards Switzerland I thought I might try and write a personal report of the event.
Like every year, the event was very well organized by Rene and Dorli mother and son. Martin, father and husband who had helped organizing the event in his calm and peaceful way taking care of everybody's need died a few years ago of cancer. I am sure everybody involved in the event felt his silent presence.
As there were many applications for this year's the competition some swimmers started already on Saturday, February 27, using the chance to participate.
Dorli was "inconsolable" that she couldn't find the gas tap for the gas bottle for me to blow up air balloons to form a rainbow as we usually do at swimming events. I reassured her that my lungs were still functioning well and that I could blow up at least a few balloons to decorate the area a little, which made her smile.
Unlike at running competitions where almost the whole centre is involved, here different people worked in shifts of four hours counting the laps of the swimmers and were spoiled with delicious food cooked by a crew of the Secrets of Perfection-Flames enterprise.
When I arrived, I was happy to see fellow students from Czech Republic that had already started as a relay team. Jayalata had come all the way from New York and her friends also had had a very long journey to come to Zurich but I looked into smiling and enthusiastic faces no traces of tiredness at all. Many teams had come from Italy and so the Italian language was predominant. Vasanti and Vedika started as solo swimmers. Both are channel swimmers and very strong! When Vasanti started on Sunday, February 28 early in the morning, Vedika had already finished the race as she swam on Saturday. (Please see the results list and photos on the website).
Once the swimmers were in the water you saw only caps, crawling arms and splashing water. I enjoyed the atmosphere a mix of murmuring sounds and damped voices throughout the swimming hall. 12 hours passed in the twinkling of an eye (at least for me) and all were happy about their results.
I personally am not such a good swimmer although I grew up at the Baltic Sea and spent much time in the water teaching myself swimming. I sincerely cannot comprehend what it means to swim for 12 hours with only taking small breaks as Vasanti and other swimmers did. Amazing! They looked all so happy! Photos over photos were taken...
I took down the remaining balloons and other decoration items, watched the award ceremony and finally went home like everybody else. Like often after our sport events, I felt as if in a dream while sitting among strangers in a train that brought me home. I was missing the atmosphere.
I was musing about some of my childhood experiences and I remembered how I cheated once when I was asked to jump headfirst into the water without proper practice. The following youtube video says it better: