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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Positively Focused Mindset Of Charlotte Brynn

Swimmers can run into all kinds of situations where their hearts spikes out of fear and worry. Sometimes the fear is misplaced and sometimes the fear is a result of a very real phenomenon.

If swimmers head away from shore and unexpectedly hit a plastic bag or a bundle of kelp, the heart rate of most swimmers spikes immediately. If swimmers come back into shore and unexpectedly get picked up and dumped by a large wave, they start to flounder underneath the whitewash and struggle for air and a way back up to the surface. If swimmers are cruising along in dark-colored waters and think they see a wave shark, they can freak out for an image of a fin swimming in the nearby vicinity can lead to the worse possible thoughts.

But there are some athletes and many adventurers who get in the zone, a mental groove where their focus enables them to stay cool, calm, and collected in situations where others panic.

Their focus is in some ways a combination of their training and their inherent personality traits.

Charlotte Brynn, a New Zealander living in Vermont in the United States, is one of those rare individuals who can get in the zone in the open water come hell or high water. “With a ‘no worries’ Kiwi approach, people who know me are not surprised as they know that’s how I live my life. We can’t always control what happens in life especially in open water swimming but we can control how we react. A positive reaction can make a not-so-good day, a better day than it might otherwise have been.”

Brynn’s night out in the Catalina Channel was described here and is being currently investigated by two different organizations: the International Shark Attack File, based out of University of Florida, and the Shark Research Committee based out of California. “The two shark organizations are documenting the attack; one is interested in a research paper, the other excited by the fact that I am not deceased and he can ask me questions. He has been studying shark encounters and attacks since the early 1960’s along the Californian coast. In some attacks, the species are identified; in others, it remains unknown, he seemed excited to talk to me rather than going to a morgue.”

Her experience on her channel attempt was one of almost unimaginable focus.

She explains, “Do I want to erase the experience? It’s not possible, that dark night is etched in my memory forever. It’s another way I live my life: stand tall in the face of opposition, particularly after being bit by something in the black of the night. If they tell me I was hit by an aquatic Mickey Mouse that went rouge from Disneyland and not a shark at all, so be it. It won’t change anything for me, the experience is tattooed in my memory bank, nothing I can forget.”

With a focus and come-as-it-may attitude, Brynn continues to smile and laugh with a great sense of humor. “A member here at The Swimming Hole came up to me and said, ‘What’s this I hear about a shark hit? Is it true? I looked at him with a wide-mouthed grin and said, “I get hit by sharks all the time, this one just happened to be a fish.” Another woman asked, ‘Have you heard any news of the shark?’ I replied, ‘No, we’re not tight, I’m not planning on keeping in touch.’”

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

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