On July 30, I was lucky to take part in a 5k swim in the Long Island Sound, as part of the Swim Across America series. Swim Across America is a nonprofit dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research and treatment. This cause is something near and dear to my heart, as I have had friends and family affected by this disease.
 This year was my 5th year embarking on this swim and fundraising for the cause. I arrived at the Larchmont Yacht Club bright and early Saturday morning for check in, writing my number on my arm, putting on some fun temporary tattoos, and doing some light carbo-loading. Over the years, I swam with many different groups of people for this race, and the mornings now are spent catching up with the swimming community that is truly one of a kind.
 All of a sudden, it is time to get this 5k going. The swimming walk began towards the dock, and along the way, we are given rose petals to toss in to reflect on why we are doing this swim. We jump into the brisk water two by two and set off towards the buoys in the distance, with a swarm of volunteer kayakers and paddleboarders along the way.
 As always, I take the first mile a bit faster than I hope, but some slight chop once I'm further out in the water makes me stop and take in my surroundings. The course layout is in the shape of a C, with the ends touching the start and finish lines, so when I stop to take a break and float on my back, I can see where I started, and can see the shores of Larchmont Shore Club. I clear out my goggles, and get going again, really getting into a comfortable rhythm to reach the last leg of the swim.
 With the last 1,000 meters, you can see and hear the music and people waiting on the shore for your arrival. It is hard not to get excited and sprint, so I arrive at the shore a little winded but so happy to see my fellow swimmers and my friends that were sweet enough to surprise me at the end. Wrapped in my freshly minted Swim Across America towel, I relax by the buffet and music and enjoy the view of the Long Island Sound, wondering which one of the many Swim Across America location swims I'll do next!