Each year, I participate in a crazy event called the April Fools Swim. The event is held on the first Sunday in April and is sponsored by the local US Masters swim team with whom I swim. The reason the event is named this is because it is an event only a Fool would swim. Not only is it a distance event that totals 10,000 yards, which is over 5.68 miles or 9.144 km if you are so metrically inclined, but it is also a timed event which adds to the difficulty. The pool where the event is held is a 25-yard pool. Swimming 4 lengths yields 100 yards. The goal of the event is to swim one-hundred 100s with each split finishing within 100 seconds.
Let me get this straight. Mr. SoS, you mean to tell me that you swim one-hundred 100-yard splits with each one in 1 minute 40 seconds. Does that mean you are swimming to the end of the pool and back in 50 seconds and doing this for 200 laps? Why, yes, that is exactly what it means, but it is more difficult than that for if you swam each 50 yards in only 50 seconds you would have to swim continuously for the entire 2 hours 46 minutes and 40 seconds without any rest. The goal is to have some rest, so each 50 needs to be completed in 40 to 45 seconds yielding 100 splits of 1:20 to 1:30 yielding between 10 and 20 seconds rest between each one. Now do you agree that this sounds crazy?
I first heard about this event in 2009 after completing the Swim Miami 10k open water swim. I was talking about my experience with a pool swimmer and they asked if I ever swam the April Fools Swim. I have been an open water distance swimmer since 2001, but swimming 10,000 yards in a pool seemed ludicrous to me. I am all kinds of crazy, so I signed up and completed the 2010 April Fools Swim.
“I believe with planning, preparation, commitment, dedication, and definiteness of purpose anything is possible.”
~ Mr. SoS
I swam the event again in 2011. Dr. SoS and I began dating in November of 2011 and when I swam it in 2012, Dr. SoS swam 100 x 75 on the 100 seconds, which is still quite a feat. Neither of us swam it in 2013 or 2014, but I returned and swam it again in 2015. Each of these times, I set this event as a goal to be conquered and prepared for it by swimming with the local US Masters team when the lake became too cold for swimming.
This was not the case in 2016. I had been lazy about getting in the pool and was not truly prepared for the event. I swam the first 50 of the 100s, and began to feel more tired than I should have been at that point. At 60, I slipped to 1:30 per 100 only giving me 10 seconds rest. At 67, I dropped to 1:33 when my legs began cramping. I fought through it for another 4 of the 100s ending at 7,100, but the swim beat me. I always experience some foot or calf cramps at some point during the event, but once my feet, calves, and shins completely locked up, I was out. I felt so incredibly defeated. Having done it so many times before, I knew it was within my power, but without adequate planning and preparation it just was not possible.
Thinking back on that swim, I was not committed enough and did not have the dedication required to complete the event. I should have begun swimming earlier, swam more often, and prepared better for the event. One thing this defeat taught me, though, was that I would not let it happen to me again. Interestingly enough, I feel the same way about having credit card debt. Once I made it out, I never wanted to end up back in that place again.
Last year, I not only swam with the team, but we purchased an annual membership at the pool where the team trains. I planned extra swimming during the week to help with my endurance. Dr. SoS helped me with some additional supplements to take prior to and during the event to help prepare for cramping muscles. I was committed to beating the event that beat me. I visualized what it would be like at each milestone and how strong I would feel at 25, 50, 75, and when I made it to 100. This dedication paid off and I completed the event averaging a 1:26 per 100 yards. My slowest interval was 1:28.2, which was the 93rd one-hundred. My definiteness of purpose helped me toward my goal and my fastest interval was my 100th hundred where I finished in 123.2 a full second faster than any previous 100! Take that April Fools Swim!
What does this mean for this year? I plan to swim the April Fools Swim again. Last year, I swam the XXV Annual Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim. I will share my open water challenges in other posts. Unfortunately, except for some short lake swims after the event, I stopped swimming last October. I discussed this with Dr. SoS and we both agreed that I need to get back in the pool to be prepared for the event this year.
The team meets every Monday and Thursday evening from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm and every Saturday morning from 7:00 am to 8:30 am. Dr. SoS works on Saturday mornings, so that was going to be a challenge, but I have been to every Monday and Thursday practice since January 29th. I successfully swam the February Folly, February 10th, which was 40 x 100 on the 100. This was the first of two preparation swims before the event. The next will be the March of Fools on March 10th, which will be 60 x 100 on the 100. We also worked it out where I was able to swim last Saturday morning and plan to have at least one extra swim per week either on my own or with the team on Saturday morning.
We have seven weeks to go before the event. This gives me approximately 20 practices to get my endurance up to where I can sustain the necessary 1:26 per one-hundred for 2 hours 47 minutes.
Dr. SoS has been an incredible support during this time by taking care of Baby SoS while I swim. We renewed our membership at the aquatic center and she is now also swimming 2 to 3 times per week. She is already up to 3,000 yards averaging 1:46 per 100. She does not have aspirations of swimming in the April Fools event this year, but we plan to attend the Barbados Open Water Festival this November, so we both need to continue swimming to be ready for the distance open water events during our trip.
After all this, you may be asking what any of this has to do with personal finance or building wealth. I will tell you. At the top of the page, I posted a personal quote. Although, this post was entirely about swimming, it can easily be translated into planning with a budget, preparing with an emergency fund, being committed to spending less, dedicating more of your hard-earned money to savings, and having a definiteness of purpose that you will be wealthy. As with swimming, so with savings. Each of those things build a stronger and better you, which in turn will make you wealthy.
Until next time, keep saving and swimming!