Hello, my name is Tiffany McQueen and I have a swimming problem. I am an adult-onset swimmer, who began swimming in September 2012 at the age of 40 upon returning to the United States from a tour of duty with the Army in Germany. Within six months of swimming with the master’s group at my local swim club – Maryland Suburban Swim Club – a few mornings each week, I discovered the sport of marathon swimming and was immediately thrilled with the idea of swimming across bodies of water between two land masses, swimming around an islands, swimming across lakes from one end to the other, and swimming down rivers from one point to another.
Marathon swimming is a class of open water swimming defined by distances of greater than 10 kilometers and which embraces the challenge of crossing open bodies of water with minimal assistance beyond a swimmer’s own physical strength, endurance, and mental fortitude. Standard marathon swimming rules allow the swimmer to wear one standard swimsuit, one swim cap (latex or silicone), goggles, earplugs, nose clip, sunscreen and grease, safety lights for visibility, a watch, an escort boat, pilot, and crew. The crew serves to aid with navigation, with providing nutrition from the boat or kayak (without touching the swimmer), and to watch over the swimmer for safety. The crew may include a support paddler, a support swimmer, and/or an observer to document the facts of the swim and verify the swim’s adherence to the declared rules.
This blog is intended to be a blend of various stories that have shaped my life over the years and somehow caused me to morph into being the swim gypsy that I am today.