My Swimming Event 3

by Jim Teisher

Jim Teisher

Jim Teisher

On Monday, June 22, I went swimming at Clackamas Cove, as I had done several times before.  Since I was swimming alone, I usually try to find someone to pair up with for a swim, but there weren’t any other swimmers that day, so I swam back and forth about 50 yards from shore.  I know I shouldn’t swim alone, but I swim well enough that I could swim 50 yards with one arm or one leg if I got into trouble and needed to swim back to shore.  So, I swam there going back and forth for about an hour that day.  Everything was fine.

The next day, Tuesday, I went back and met a fellow United States Masters Swimmer (USMS) swimmer, Tim Waud, and a friend of his for another swim at Clackamas Cove.  We would swim for a little bit, stop and talk for a while, then swim a little more.  We had been in the water for about an hour, and we made our last stop before swimming the last 100 yards into shore.  We talked for a little while, and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital.  I had had a cardiac arrest.  My heart had just stopped.  Just prior to that I had felt fine.  I had no symptoms.  I did not feel lightheaded or have any numbness in any of my limbs.  I felt fine.

I think of myself as a rather good swimmer.  I have been on a USMS team for about 30 years, and I am a USMS certified level II coach.  Several times I have been ranked in the top 10 in the nation in my age group in pool meets, but what I really enjoy is open water swimming.  Oregon Masters Swimming hosts a series of open water swims every summer, and I have competed in many of those in the last 15 to 20 years.  I have also done the Portland Bridge Swim twice.  That is swimming from the Sellwood bridge to St John’s bridge.  I have done it twice, once solo and once as part of a relay.  I have done the Alcatraz swim, swam across Crater Lake, and done the English Channel as part of a relay.  The only one where I wore a wet suit was Crater Lake, and that was only because the organizer required it.  In preparing for the English Channel we did cold water training.  I did one short swim in 48° water and several 1-hour swims in 52° water, and yes, I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit.  On Tuesday, the temperature in Clackamas Cove was about 68°.

In the past I have always tried to find someone to swim with.  But if I couldn’t find someone to swim with, I didn’t let that hold me back.  Now my views have changed.  From now on, I will always find someone to swim with, or not get in the water.

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3 thoughts on “My Swimming Event

  • joe oakes

    You are one of the llucky ones. Congratulations on finding and making use of Clackamas Cove. I wanna find it and swim there.
    Joe Oakes

  • Arlene Delmage

    Jim thank you for sharing your side of the story especially the fact that you felt completely fine before this happened. It’s unbelievably scary and a great reminder for all of us to swim with a partner. It’s also a good reminder to get CPR certified. I am glad you are on the mend and feeling better.