Every year the Rotary club of Pattaya organizes a charity swim to raise money for the different charities in Thailand. This was the second consecutive time I have participated in the sponsor swim where last year I did the 1.1 km, easily completing it, this year I took up the challenge of swimming the 3.5 km trek from Bali Hai to Dusit Thani.
Sundays are usually very laid back for my family but my parents very supportively accompanied me to the starting point. I had to register for my swim with a sponsorship of 2,000 baht. It was amusing to see the shock on my mother’s face as she could not see the finish line from where we stood. Mr. Peter, a Rotarian used a fog horn to instruct us on the safety rules, making the whole event more formal.
Despite the chilly waters, the swimmers made it from Bali Hai Pier to Dusit Thani.
At one o’clock sharp all the 26 swimmers, ages ranging from 15 years old (me being the youngest) to 68 years old were with me in the abnormally chilly waters including my ICT teacher Ben Liversidge, whom I had challenged to join me. As the countdown reached 1 all the swimmers powered themselves away from the lighthouse and towards Dusit Thani 3.5 km away. Rescue boat number 5 led the way for the fastest swimmers; two Jet skis were bringing up the rear.
Three days before I had practiced swimming the 3.5 km in my pool but once in the sea the difference was incomparable. The current on the day was quite strong; it kept pushing me off course. After every 5 minutes I would have to locate the short white building at the other end of the shore and alter my direction so that I would be heading towards the shore and not out to sea. From the looks of the distance I would have thought that I would not make it in the amount of time specified which was 2 hours.
The three challengers from Garden International School: Ben Liversidge, Rachel See and Azeez Khanijou.
The waters of Pattaya have a very low visibility. By (what seemed to be) the half-way point the finish line seemed out of grasp as I started feeling my body ache. I was starting to feel the petrol of the speedboats on my face. The waves increased in height and it was harder to swim over them which drained even more energy out of me.
My motivational force when I got tired was the free buffet at the finish line for all the swimmers provided by Dusit Thani. After an hour I could see 2 towering bunch of orange balloons planted in the sand and I knew that that was the finish line. 31 minutes later I arrived at the finish line feeling an accomplishment that I’ve never felt before. My legs were soft. As I heard my name announced by the presenter the reality set in. I had done it!
I had been greeted by my ICT teacher who had finished 20 minutes before me. Congratulations should also go to Rachel See in IB1 who took part in the event for the first time and to Mr. Liversidge who came in the top 10 of all competitors to take on the challenge of the 3.5 km.
In total we raised 10,000THB for the Pattaya Rotary Club. This money will be used to get water filtration systems into local schools so that children in them will have access to clean, safe drinking water.