Open Water helps me remember why I swim, especially, oh yeah, when I get to swim in Mexico.

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Sometimes, I think it’s important to remember that this swimming thing is not just about competition, workouts, and endurance. Sometimes, it’s simply about the freedom of being in the water, feeling comfortable enough with your skills to explore, to have fun, to experience new places.

And of course, work on your goggle face.

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I have just returned from a week in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico where I swam a few hours a day in gorgeous blue water, soaked up a little Vitamin D, and remembered why I love the water.

But vacation is also a time to explore, and eat copious amounts of chips on the beach.

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Or just take drive along the ocean.

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Eventually, though, I will always find my way into that water.

On beach in Tulum, I swam out to a reef others could only reach by boat.

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I lingered above a Stingray, floating for a moment before moving on. I watched snorkelers struggle with their life jackets while I dove down to get a better look at the fish on the reef.

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In Akumal, I swam with my family, floating in Yal-Ku Lagoon.

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The lagoon is a mix of salt and fresh water. It was shallow and safe enough that those in our group who aren’t as comfortable with their swimming abilities felt secure, and yet with enough for those of us with more snorkeling and open water experience to see without getting bored.

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Sometimes, we spent water time without swimming at all. At Rio Secreto, we explored underground caverns, no real swimming necessary but a love for adventure certainly helped!

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While we were in Mexico, the terrible events in Boston occurred, and again, I took to the water to mourn those who died, and spend some time processing my own emotions so that my son and his friend could remain the 12-year-olds they are, playing in the pool, on the beach, and blissfully unaware of the things that were happening back home.

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And of course, our swimming on vacation was about FUN! Riding waves and being silly and playing Marco Polo.

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As always, the open water comforts me, brings me peace, and reminds me why I spend those hours, as some put it, “swimming back and forth and back and forth.” Now, as I do my workouts this week, I have another place to remember, somewhere I can transport myself to as I move through the water. Because open water dreaming is always my favorite kind.

There’s one more thing. The kind of open water swimming I did in Mexico restores my confidence in my own abilities, so much so that when I returned, I finally signed up for a stage of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, something I’ve been wanting to do for the past 2 years and never quite felt ready for. Now, ready or not, Stage 4, and 15 miles on the Hudson River, is coming in June!

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