I haven’t always been an average open water swimmer. Everything started for me in a pool. Born in Belgium, my parents took me to swimming lessons when I was five. The instructor asked me to put my head underwater, and I said “no”. He sent me home and said I would be ready a year later. That is how it worked back then, so eventually, I learned how to swim at the age of six. And despite the fact I refused to dive headfirst and to do tumbled turns, I started competing when I was eight.
Swimming became a real passion much later. I just loved the social part and the competition. Like most of my swimming friends, I ended up teaching swimming to young children in my local club.
Another passion put a stop to teaching and competing: travel! Travelling got me to become a white water rafting and river boarding guide in Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand. Swimming at a very different level, but truly in contact with nature. The part I enjoyed the most.
Travel also took me to Australia where I started competing again at masters level. I took different training and started teaching and coaching to all levels possible. From babies and toddlers to adult masters swimmers. It became my main job and I really enjoyed sharing knowledge and learning at the same time.
It is also in Australia that I discovered open water swimming. Almost every weekend of the summer, the local Surf Life Saving Clubs organize an Ocean Swim. I became quickly totally addicted to this kind of swimming and racing. It doesn’t matter how good you are in a pool, the ocean and open water is a very different story! But like with any other activity, learning and practising make you an open water swimmer.
Since 2015, it is in the Mediterranean Sea that I enjoy swimming. At first just in the Summer when the water is nice and warm. In 2018, I took a coastal lifeguarding course which was throughout Winter and Spring. We were provided with very thick surfing wetsuits and back then the fourteen-degree water seemed freezing. But I realized it is really not that hard and actually very enjoyable to swim in the sea in the winter.
Little by little I have left the pool to spend more time in the sea in contact with nature. In February 2019, a group of dolphins came to swim with my swim partner and me for about thirty minutes. A very magical moment that confirmed I was now not just in love with swimming but with open water swimming!
Now I live in Italy on the Adriatic Sea coast. Pools are closed. But the sea is there for us all !
I am an average open water swimmer. I love being outdoor, I love swimming, I love racing, and I love sharing my humble knowledge with other average open water swimmers.