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Friday, April 15, 2016

A Birthday Swim, Inspired By Daughter And Friends

Courtesy of Katrina Murphy, Mighty Mac Swim, Michigan.

Judith Lynne Depew will be turning 50 when she swim the Mighty Mac Swim in Michigan. "This challenge is part of my 50th birthday celebration."

The former high school swimmer from Jackson, Michigan is a member of the BBA, Birmingham-Bloomfield Atlantis Masters group. She joined when her daughter joined four years ago. But she has been swimming all her life. "My parents made sure we learned to swim at an early age. I remember lessons given by a wonderful woman in her backyard pool. My dad was so eager to make sure we swam, he had a beautiful in-ground pool put in our backyard. He was a World War II veteran, a D-Day survivor who didn't know how to swim. I'm sure that this was a big part of his motivation."

She did some synchronized swimming and then started a successful, record-breaking competitive pool swimming career. "I had a great experience on the swim team in high school. I made great friends and learned how important friendship is in helping you achieve your goals. I also learned how to be a leader - as a captain and a teammate, nothing is better than high school swimming in terms of opportunities to lead and support other people."

Dial forward more than 30 years and she is experiencing déjà vu as an adult swimmer. "The renewed experience has given me many of the same benefits, plus the added benefit of stress relief and a way to improve my health and quality of life as I get older. I have great friends whom I look forward to seeing at practice and I have become a member of the Atlantis board - making sure that my daughter and her friends have the opportunity to experience swimming and all its lifelong benefits of friendship and health is the reason I volunteer."

But now Depew has decided to tackle the Mighty Mac Swim - and the timing seems right. "Taking on this challenge in my 50th birthday year seems like a wonderful way to celebrate and share the wonderful experiences I've had with swimming with a charity like Habitat for Humanity, that celebrates and supports the benefits of family and community."

She is in the midst of a transformation from the pool to the open water as she sets her sights on crossing the Straits of Mackinac. "Open water swimming is new to me. I've swum the Motor City Mile for the last 3 years, each time bettering my time. The first time I swam open water, it was a bit overwhelming and I didn't feel as in control of my stroke and the time as I did in pool swimming, and the solitary nature of long-distance swimming in such an environment was alienating.

However, with more experience, I have started to enjoy the feeling of the challenge, managing the fear and uncertainty, and the time alone with my thoughts.

I can see this becoming a yearly challenge and adventure as long as my health and training allow

She is keeping her open water challenges as a mother-daughter duo tandem swim. "My daughter and I have swum all three of our open water events together. I look forward to swimming alongside her someday, and I'd love to approach some of these other open water challenges with her as well. She and her friends are such an inspiration to me.

I hope that meeting my goals serves as an inspiration and example of how swimming can turn into a lifelong opportunity for friendship, challenge and joy

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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