The Weekly Kiki #6: A Tale of Open Water Training

Wednesday 18 November 2020


I swim, dipping my head through the waves and avoiding inhaling saltwater into my lungs at all costs. 


“Kiki! You’re going the wrong way!” 

Our swimmers, braving the North Sea late in the summer.

I look up and realize that the waves and coinciding current have pushed me in the opposite direction of my comrades. My tribe. The Open Water Training Group. 


I yell, “Hold on!” and revert myself in the correct direction and begin swimming freestyle (“front crawl” as the British say) to my clan.


“Were you trying to run away from us, Kiki?” a voice calls out from amidst the waves. 

“Never! I am a dedicated (gasp) member of open (gasp) water (gasp) training,” I say as I try to expel the salt water from my lungs. 


I glance upwards and see that the waves have proceeded to pick up and are beginning to become more intense and the sky darkens to a charcoal grey. 


Our leader, Ian, noticing the heightened waves and overcast sky yells, “Alright! I say we head back to the beach before things get a tad too crazy,” and turns to lead us towards the shoreline. 


I note my weary legs and almost blue fingers before turning to face the beach. I observe the distance between myself and the beach almost 250 meters. I can do this! I say to myself as my fellow swimmers, Water Polo Players and Triathlon Athletes alike, begin to swim towards the glorious pale sand. 


I make a few strokes forward before I see something reddish brown in front of my goggles. I scream into the sea as I note the tentacles ,thousands of little suckers, and the beady black eyes. I paddle back a few strokes and shout again. This time alerting my fellow clan members of my impending doom. 


“A Jellyfish! It’s attacking me!” I scream as loud as I can. A fellow water polo player, Simone, turns and looks at me. 


“Are you okay?” She says. 


“No!” I shakily utter and point below me into the depths of the North Sea. “It’s there beneath me. Swimming,” I say with dread. 


“Alright then, let’s not give it the chance to eat you then. Let’s make a “swim” for it,” said Simone. 


At those words, I turned towards the beach and swam with all my might. The only thought I have racing across my brain, “Do not. Let. The. Jellyfish. Eat. You.” In no time at all, I feel the rough sand granules of the beach brushing against my toes as I lurch my body out of the North Sea, shivering and quaking, onto the beach. I turn to Simone and say, “That was the scariest moment of my life.” 



Lauren (l), Ruby (c), and Ian (r) out in the sea with the pier and cathedral as a lovely backdrop.

The summer of 2020, was interesting to say the least. I sincerely enjoyed my time in St Andrews over the summer and the countless hurdles I faced and overcame. I enjoyed the open water training sessions and how they made me into a stronger and more confident swimmer. I encountered numerous Jellyfish, not just the one I mentioned above, and survived. I’ll never forget the wonderful memories I made with my coach, captain, and teammates.


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