An Ode to Paige Christie

I wanted to dedicate this blog post to the person who planted the initial seed that lead me to pursuing a marathon swim of my own. In two days Paige Christie will begin a 7 day journey swimming a total of 120 miles on the Hudson river, the longest marathon swim in world, known as the 8 bridges swim. Each day she will swim between 13-20 miles. I would wish her luck but I know that she doesn’t need it because “luck is made through thorough preparation.” And I know that she has created the luck she needs through her grueling and unrelenting training over the past year. So instead of luck, I want to wish her joy and pride. She is about to reap the benefits of her training with her successful completion of the “odyssey” of open water swimming. But no matter the results of the next week, what she has already accomplished (both her successful English Channel crossing and the incredible training of the last year) merit celebration and praise.

So here is my brief ode to this amazing woman who I am lucky enough to call a mentor and friend: Paige Christie is one of the fiercest swimmers and greatest athletes I have ever had the pleasure of calling a teammate. She epitomizes what it means to be intrepid, dedicated, hard working, and unwavering. Her titles include: English Channel swimmer, Smith College Swim captain, grind goddess, beast, legend, mentor, friend.

I remember listening to her give a presentation sponsored by the philosophy department at Smith about her Channel crossing. I remember sitting in awe of the human standing at the front of the room recounting jelly fish stings, nausea, vomiting, frigid water, long swimming hours all to reach a French beach 21 odd miles from where she entered the water in England. She talked about mental toughness and how she believed and knew that she could accomplish the task ahead, a task fewer people have attained than the number of those who have summited Mt. Everest.

It was at that presentation that I thought, “Wow, I want to do that.” Two years later as I began to make preparations for my own open water marathon swim, Paige—now an alum, gave me incredible support, guidance, enthusiasm, and advice. She regularly reaches out to me and Abby (our teammate who is preparing for a Catalina Channel crossing this summer) providing her mentorship and reassurance which has been instrumental in sustaining my focus and zeal for my P2P grind.

Paige, I cannot wait to watch your journey over the next week. Know that I will be cheering you on and sending all of the positive vibes in the world your way. You just have to do what you naturally do which is slay and dominate every challenge that comes your way. ❤

Love,


Eliza

10429846_10152618701355976_3214702643627903458_n.jpg
Paige left, last relay of NEWMAC championship meet–Paige’s last race of her Smith College swimming career

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