A Love Affair

By Janine Serell

I’m a romantic about swimming, anyone who knows me knows that the Hudson is my favorite water to swim in.   Earlier this week there was a blog about the people who make this event special which we all do in so many different ways, but I think the river is really the star of the show.  The Hudson is the pin-up of rivers; she’s fast and sexy, moody and angry and goes from glass to white caps in the blink of an eye.  I’ve been lucky enough to travel a bit in life and so often when i see one of the ‘great’ rivers of the world i’ve been a tad disappointed, they have all lacked the grandeur of the Hudson.  This is a river that inspired an entire school of painters who were so blown away by her beauty that they sought to immortalize it and share it with those not fortunate enough to visit her, and we get to swim, paddle, cruise and frolic in her, lucky us!

On the practical side the river supports commerce as we swim in her.  There’s something so cool about swimming with giant barges gliding by.  When you volunteer you get to hear the astonishment of the boat captains as someone explains that there’s 19 swimmers in the river going down the west side some of who will swim 120 miles over the course of a week, and if you’re lucky  they’ll even toot their horns in celebration when they see you.   Long freight trains and short passenger  trains snake along the river banks passing you as you swim.  I loved when i lived in the city taking the train to the start of a stage….the early morning sun shining on this bucolic setting would always put me in the right frame of mind to enjoy the river.  She’s not something to be conquered, but rather to be respected and enjoyed.  You can swim with her and in her, but not at her, she will not be bullied.  You need to find her rhythm that morning and match your breath to her’s.
This is my home water, the place i feel the most comfortable swimming.  I swam my 1st mile here in 2010 and have been lucky enough to jump in every year since.  I’m swimming the stages of 8 Bridges easiest to hardest as I’m optimistic that i will continue to improve that little bit I need to make the next bridge each year.    But no matter how my day in the river ends whether beyond the bridge or in a rib I will be eternally grateful that I got to jump in and swim happy in the Hudson again this year.   XOXO