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Monday, August 19, 2013

Emily Von Jentzen Stops, But Carter's Cause Continues

6 hours into a channel swim. Not quite to the halfway point in an open water swim. A few hours before dawn on a night swim. Hours of fighting against relentless whitecaps.

These are all times and situations where many open water swimmers hit their low point.

This is where swimmers hit the infamous witching hour.

The witching hour refers to the toughest time of an open water swim.

It is a period when the possibility of stopping peaks. A combination of cold, distance, lack of sleep, hunger, and/or conditions causes, or makes it appear to, the swimmer to believe and feel that the cold gets colder, the dark gets darker, and the rough gets rougher. It is a period of time when many swimmers are most vulnerable and weak. Often, they voluntarily stop swimming or are involuntarily pulled from an open water swim.

And so it was with Emily von Jentzen who was swimming very well for nearly 24 hours before she hit the witching hour at 3 am during her 70-mile attempt to cross Canyon Ferry Lake. "[I was] a little disappointed having to end the swim early, but I was making great time and blessed with awesome weather conditions for the first 16 or so hours," she explained to her friends and followers on Facebook. "Then weather turned bad and big waves and wind tired me out right before night fall and continued as the sun went down. I started to get chilled and then could not get warm. I made the decision to get on the support boat when I had been shivering for over an hour and there was still hours before temperatures would warm up. The water wasn't so cold, but the air was so cold on my arms every time my arms left the water. I did obtain medical treatment following the swim, and got an IV."

Von Jentzen has trained hard and prepared herself as best she could, but she was both hopeful and realistic about her 70-mile attempt, a monster who peaked during the dreaded witching hour. "I know that I needed to end the swim. It's hard to have a goal and fall short, but with these type of things, I know listening to your body is key. Even though I did not finish the whole 70 miles, I still hope folks will continue to donate to Carter's Cause, as raising money for Carter really is the most important thing."

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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