Open Water Swimming & Water Polo

Open Water Swimming & Water Polo

- 2 mins

“Cold pain”. Two words that describe open water swimming in sub-60 degrees Fahrenheit water in the bay of San Francisco. These were some of the best experiences of my Freshman year.

One time, I thought I was a goner: cold winds blasting against my back, waves throwing my struggling breaths underwater, my body slowing down and feeling an icy presence spread across my limbs.

Or another time, me and two friends lost our ‘guide’ (a friend at the club) the first time we went night swimming. It was pitch black - the only way of knowing where you were was to follow the blinking head light of the other members in your group.

Yet, I somehow managed to keep swimming both these times, overcoming the pain of exhaustion and the fear of seal attacks.

The feeling of completing such swims was truly amazing.

Open water swimming has opened my eyes to a whole new world of experiential fun. While you may not enjoy the harsh conditions in the moment, such strains on the human body feel more than rewarding in retrospect.

Since, I’ve gone for 10km runs at 5am with friends, picked up boxing, and plan to do a marathon/triathlon/iron man in the future.

I swam at the South End Rowing Club.

Water polo brings together aspects of teamwork, fitness and mental willpower. The friendships I’ve made through water polo will last me a lifetime, and given it is such a niche sport, whenever I meet another player there is always an initial spark of interest as we are both part of such a great community.

Playing water polo taught me how to work both as a team member and as a captain (I was Keeper of Water Polo, otherwise known as captain, in my final year of Eton). It brought a side of drive for fitness that I had never experienced before and a sense of willpower to overcome some of the physical constraints of the human body.

Some of my highlights included competing in the London Youth Games, playing for the Ealing Crabs, and winning the National English Schools Plate Competition as captain in my final year.

I am currently trying to maintain my water polo as a hobby when I can as I travel around the world. I joined the West London Penguins water polo club in 2021 and play for them and the alumni Eton team when I can.

Alexander Bricken

Alexander Bricken

Travelling the world.

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