Four Elements swim for change ocean challenge

Yesterday I got to participate in the Four Elements Swim for Change Ocean Challenge. The initiative behind this event was to create awareness for conservation as well as to fundraise for a development program exposing young students to the environment and providing them with skills to empower them to make a sustainable difference to the environment and in their community. The Four Elements Conservation Trust was founded by a young girl still in her teens. I am continuously amazed by her vision, passion and desire to be authentic in creating change. We need more people like this in our communities.

Yesterday’s swim saw a massive growth from the pioneer event last year, from 16 swimmers to over 120 swimmers. The swim distance was 5km, a challenge for most swimmers and a nice training swim for others. The conditions ended up being really great for the swim, creating a bit of a challenge on the return leg, with a strong counter currents and a large swell. The water was a warm 24 degrees and relatively clean despite the average visibility.

The swim was a small milestone for me after over 12 weeks of trying to manage and overcome burnout.
Time is so relative and in the world of a swimmer it means a lot. Swimmers lives revolve around time, from the time it takes to do 20×100’s to making sure we get enough sleep and making sure we get to training on time. Time is so important in the life of a swimmer; it is difficult to move away from the concept of time. I recently watched a movie where they ‘twisted’ a lot of typical sayings. One of them was “There is no present like the time”. I love that. Having recently attended an old school friend’s funeral, those words hit close to home . Sitting resting and waiting for time to pass and making the best out of my current situation, I can identify with that saying. We do not know how much time we will have on this earth; we do not know when the next obstacle is going to hit us. As I grapple with this season I find myself in, I am reminded that there is no present like the time, which I guess makes this season even harder for me to embrace. But I do want to learn to live simply and embrace whatever season I find myself in and to the make the most of the time that is gifted to me.

It has been a constant mental battle waking up each morning deciding how I get to spend my day, wondering if today is going to be the day I can train a little bit without the fear of getting sick or regressing. Thankfully I have had and am surrounded by an incredible support system who share my dream and vision for a ‘bigger picture’. They have all been instrumental to helping me get to the ability to swim 5km on minimal training and I trust that this is the starting point of rebuilding to being 100% fit and strong again as I train towards one of my dreams, like the CEO of Four Elements Conservation, being authentic in creating sustainable change.

It is these small milestones in people’s lives that lead to creating sustainable change.

The swim for change yesterday was a huge success with so much meaning for so many swimmers. I had the privilege of watching one of my closest friends push the boundaries to what, for her just over a year ago seemed like impossibility. It is these small milestones in people’s lives that lead to creating sustainable change.

It cannot be achieved alone and it sometimes takes one young school girl with a big vision to inspire others to dream big and achieve the seemingly impossible.

Author: Jenni Petersen

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