This weekend marks the fourth year of Swim Across America, the charity swimming event that has raised over $1.3 million for cancer research at Johns Hopkins. Read below the story of Misti Burmeister, a brave soul who was inspired to become a better swimmer so that she could participate and join the cause. Visit the SAA website to learn more about the organization and find out how you can sponsor a swimmer for the Meadowbrook pool swim on Saturday, September 20 or the open water swim in the Magothy River on Sunday, September 21. Good luck, swimmers! The Eds.
by Misti Burmeister
Has anyone ever laughed at you when you’ve tried something new?
When I got her text message at 9:30 a.m., I laughed, as I remembered feeling as though I might drown just fifteen years before.
Wanting to be the cool kid at nineteen, I went to get my lifeguard certification. As with most sports, I thought I could simply muscle my way through it.
I didn’t bother to learn how to swim, nor did I practice. When the woman in charge of the certifications blew her whistle, instructing me to get out of the pool, I knew I was done.
“You look like you need to be saved,” she said.
So, when my friend Janice Bonner sent me that text message, encouraging me to do Swim Across America (SAA), my immediate response was, “I don’t know how to swim.”
“Swimming might help your hip, you get training as a part of the deal, and you get to contribute to a worthy cause,” Janice said.
Later that day, I got online to check them out. As I was going to sign up, I noticed that I could not sign up without committing to raising $500.
First, I tried to make my way around that commitment on their website, but it didn’t work. I had to either make the commitment, or forget the whole thing.
Before I could think too long, I pushed the “enter” button and made my promise.
By my third training session, I had two opposing emotions hit me at the same time: excitement and guilt.
I had learned enough to swim 100 meters without stopping, but I hadn’t asked for any donations yet. Yuck!
When I got out of the pool that day, I headed straight for my computer. I wrote an email about this challenge, and asked a dozen or so of my friends, clients, and colleagues to contribute.
While I was prepared for my mom to throw a few bucks in the hat, I wasn’t ready for the result: $500 in 48 hours.
Relief! Read More →