by Boat Steel
2012 TABARCA OPEN WATER CROSSING. THE STORY. BY “BOAT STEEL”
This is an account of an incredible day.
Hi, you can call me, “Boat Steel”, and just one of the many brave people who despite being disabled, always felt they wanted to enjoy the amazing Tabarca to Santa Pola swim.
To be honest, I’m not so brave and have had some misgivings as to whether I could or could not, in fact, take advantage of the contest, and that’s why I wish to relate my experience so that any other disabled people in my position, could take such a brave step forward and so enjoy an unforgettable day which we did, both my family and I.
I have a degenerative disease which affects all four limbs so I can hardly walk at all, as my ankles double up too much, so I have to move around in a wheelchair nearly all the time and as my hands are affected too, I cannot handle things at all well. This ailment is somewhat painful and the muscles which are still “alive” contract too easily and hurt a lot, with no cure available, but my magic medicine is SWIMMING and thanks to that, I can get the muscles to relax a little and so sleep better. Furthermore I’m more relaxed through the day and better humoured. The good thing about swimming is that even if one has a disability. nearly all can swim in some manner or another.
For many years now when I go to the beach and see the island of Tabarca, I feel like swimming there, it seems so close at times!
All my pals used to say, “Go on! You can enter for the crossing, as you’re always in the water, just as other people do it , then disabled people can too….
But I hadn’t the nerve; how could I get to Tabarca with the wheelchair? Everybody said Tabarca was full of stones and how could I get on the boat? And so the years went by.
Until this year, that is, because I was 30 years old and at a time when I was in good shape (for swimming, that is), and above all because my family back me up (some in particular), I decided to put my name down (how happy I am to have done so)
Even up to the day of the race, I was a bit scared, and I must thank an admin member of the Alone Swimming Club because he was really helpful answering my e mails and settling me down; he always said the same thing, “Don’t worry about a thing, just carry on training and we’ll help you with everything (how right he was) If any other disabled person is keen to do it, I would simply give them the same advice. “Don’t worry about anything at all”
Come the day of the crossing, I was really nervous, and said to my wife, “I’m more scared of getting to the start than to the finish line, (in the water there are no barriers for us) and when I got the bib number, a club member appeared as a guide, and I asked the organisers to get me on board the Tabarca ferry, first hurdle overcome.
Then when at Tabarca, when they helped me to get off and I headed for the Start. The ground was flat with just the odd stone, but one can make it in the chair, even so, a pal offered to push me to the start area (which I’m grateful for), then when I was about to enter the water, some other mates offered to help but the stones dug into their feet as they were barefooted they carried me bodily as far as the shore. This was vital for me and really impressed me, those good mates, as well as those who, swimming kilometres, hesitate in getting me out of the water, (as did the ones from the Organisation). Sport is a brilliant thing, with these superb people THANKS A LOT!
It’s really useful to know this, so that if you do take part, you can rest content because the volunteers are there to assist us (and for that we have to be really grateful and furthermore, should you need anything, the other friends will certainly assist.
Once in the water, just enjoy it, feel free and move around with no restrictions. The sea (according to the experts and veterans, was against us, but despite the rough sea. I enjoy it just like a child.
These were two short unforgettable hours, underwater prairie, fish, the view of the shore from a distance, and then when the big official awning starts to look bigger, and the finish area looms nearer and nearer , these are feelings not to be missed!!
after six didn’t
Arriving the finish (supported by helping arms. both pals and organisers) was an emotional thing, as I had finally fulfilled my dream, the speaker commentating the race at that moment, my arrival, moved me more, when you think that the people were giving me an ovation, and that I appreciate a lot, (not just for me but for my family too) all were elated, my nieces carried banners, my god-daughter looked at me in admiration, all this was “engraved” on my heart, and all the family maintained that it was one of the most moving moments of their life.
JUST DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS FIESTA FOR FEAR OF NOT GETTING TO THE START
if you are fit enough to get to the finish. GET YOUR NAMES DOWN!! For many years I missed out on enjoying this superb race, and I don’t intend missing another one!! Just like the Alone Club members say, “Don’t worry about a thing, just get training “.
I hope this will help some disabled to “take the plunge”, because this would make me happy to know I’ve made someone else happy.
THANKS TO ALL WHO MADE POSSIBLE THIS HAPPY, FESTIVE OCCASION, WHICH THEY CALL “ THE TABARCA SANTA POLA OPEN WATER SWIM”.