Yesterday I swam in the River Lee in a 2000-meter race. I felt slow in the water, and my body was cold for most of the race.
We stood in the rain in our bathing suits until we were led onto the platform by a marshal holding colossal umbrellas while bagpipes played. That was my moment — tears filled my eyes. I felt at home, one with the Irish, a part of it.
Athletics do this to people — it does not matter where you are from. The water brought us all together — and we pulled our bodies through it as spectators gathered along the Lee’s sides, holding umbrellas.
As I breathed, I’d catch faces. No one ever comes out for swim races — and here were hundreds of people supporting us.
Through the triangle of between my head, my arm, and the water, I see faces.
Photos by John Wagner