I have a medal – I swam to the Shipwreck, 1.5k. I have two precious swan bookends for directing Swan Lake after our medal ceremony. Above all, I have survived.
Covid isolation hit me after Christmas. Uncertainty and lack of routine make anxiety a potent cocktail and isolation a toxic ingredient.
The Shipwreckers had been formed by summer sea enthusiasts driven by a common love of the sea and desire to continue swimming in all weathers. This was enough to bind – at social distance – like minded swimmers of varying age in friendship nourished by layers of warmth and laughter.
All life was explored in post ‘dip’ chats and on more ‘desperate’ days dancing took over to add warmth before heading home. My new life evolved – routine of the flask, cake wrapped as from the oven, a wardrobe that made weather of no consequence, the chat, the ‘craic’ and the dancing.
Swimming tips grew into swimming lessons as restrictions lifted and the ‘ducks’ became the ‘swans’ that would both swim to the Shipwreck and dance in tutus on Ballymoney Strand where I found my Tribe. I am safe, I am not alone. I am a Shipwrecker.
Author Patricia McEntee was the winner of our August 2021 Short Story Competition. The prize for Patricia and her unique group was a professional photo-shoot at their spot – Ballymoney Beach in County Wexford.
To celebrate, they had a post-swim party, complete with cake, sandwiches, freshly cooked hot dogs, tea, chats and a marvellous performance of Swan Lake.