I was raised by the Atlantic ocean on the south west cost of Ireland, I’ve seen the beauty and wildness that the ocean can conjure and felt the effects of both on a personal level. While growing up, we spent all our days on the nearby beach, swimming without fear. That fearlessness lasted for me until the day I came within 20 seconds of drowning.
You know the scene in movies, where the guy is swimming for his life against the strong currents and the camera pans into his face and you know that if he doesn’t make it to shore in the next few seconds he is going to be swept out to sea. You can feel his fear, his sense of hopelessness through the screen, you get nervous for him just watching it…that guy was me.
I found myself swimming on a “threadmill” in the sea, swimming as fast as I could muster the energy and still not getting any closer to the shore. My arms were burning, they felt as heavy as lead, my shoulders felt like someone had stuck a red hot poker straight into the joints and twisted it around, turning my head to breathe felt futile as this seemed like it was taking energy away from my arms. My legs had stopped kicking and were sinking, dragging me down, all that seemed to work were my arms and they were about to stop very soon. I always thought of myself as a decent swimmer, with slightly better than an average technique. As adequate as I thought my technique was, I was fully aware that it was rapidly failing me.
While the sea water was going down my throat and up my nose, I distinctly remember having the thought, “I’ve got about 20 seconds here and then I’m dead”….I didn’t want to die, not that I was making the most of my life at the time, but I knew I did NOT want to die. I took, what I thought at the time, was my last breath, and put my head down and turned my arms over and over and over, until I felt my hands scrapping the seabed. I figured I must have sunk straight to the bottom, but when I looked up I had somehow managed to get closer and I was nearly at the shoreline. I clawed myself to shore, gripping the sand beneath me and “pushing” the ocean behind me because I literally couldn’t lift my arms out of the water to swim.
I eventually found myself ashore on my back, I lay there for an eternity, my head was pounding, I could feel my temples pulsating so hard and thought the skin would rip apart, too exhausted to roll over and get up on my knees, I lay there and that’s when I told myself that “I’m never ever going to be in that situation again”.
I think back now and I’ve still got those feelings “swimming” around inside me now. I’m still nervous when I get into the sea, I always have flashbacks to that moment just as I’m about to go into the sea for a swim. The difference today is that I’ve spent the last few years studying how the body moves when we swim, I’ve studied how the arms move, which muscles are being used, what the connection between the head and arms is when I swim, what is causing my arms to feel restricted, why can I breathe fine in one direction but not in the other, I’ve researched the relationship between swim stroke and swim velocity, what the best technique is and how I can improve that technique so that others don’t ever have to feel what I felt.
I chose to swim faster, because I wanted to survive then, I choose to swim faster now so that I can learn how to improve myself and others.
About Eoin O’Connell and HarmonisedMuscles.
Eoin is an Advanced Clinical Massage Therapist, specializing in Myofascial Release Therapy. He has been dedicated to studying the body and its workings. He is passionate about massage and ensuring that everyone that comes to him gets the best that he can give to them. Eoin is a registered massage therapist. He set up HarmonisedMuscles and has been helping people recover from both chronic and acute issues, aiding them to get back to achieving their goals, whatever they may be. Come and experience for yourself the benefits of Myofascial Release and take your life/body to the next level.