Yes. Very much so. One night in a third world country I was caught in the washingmachine where big waves collapsed on the beach. No one can swim in that. Can’t do anything but relax, expel what’s in your lungs a little at a time and hope you surface.
Then when you feel a lightness of no water around your head, blow out and take as big and deep breath as fast as you can because the last 2 times that happened you could barely inhale before a wave crashed down upon you and you were in the washing machine again.
Eventually you will be brought to the place where all the wave water goes, then goes back out to sea. Doesn’t matter if you’re dead or alive, you’ll wind up there if you are lucky.
So I found my self out in the quiet, black ocean. My eyes were a bit blurry from the saltwater washing I had, but I did a 360 to figure out where I was. Far in the distance, I saw a tiny red light. I had no idea what that was, but I knew that was land. I thought about swimming paralell to the beach until I was out of the big wave area, but wasn’t sure how far that was, if I would get caught in any more rip tides, and I was pretty beat up, so figured the light was my best bet.
I looked up at the stars for guidance, but figured the little red light was better, so no floating on my back using the stars, gonna have to be sidestroke to keep my head above water and keep oriented towards that red light.
I swam parallel to that light for a while as I didn’t want to try and swim back where I was washed out, against that current. So after a while, I turned 90* to point at that light and began the swim back. I had no idea how long I was swimming, how far out I had been, nor was at that moment, but I thought it’d be ironic if the sharks ate me, then the indigs fishing would catch one and bring it to the beach where people would buy it for food.
I was finally able to hear the rythmic clap of the big waves as they collapsed upon the shore. I knew this would be my only shot, so I kept swimming. Soon I felt my self going up and down, so I was getting near the beach. The thunderous claps of the waves hitting the beach grew louder. This was it, going back into the washing machine, but I ain’t going out w/o a fight.
Swells kept getting bigger and bigger, as was the thunderous crashes of waves. Timing, timing would be the key. When I was about at the apex, I swam like hell. Timing. I was going higher and higher with each swell until suddenly the water fell out and was replaced by air. I took a big gulp of air and curled into a ball for the crash. Went under, around, sideways, not sure where up was, but then as soon as the ‘lightness’ of lack of water hit, I blew out, took a deep breath and swam like hell away from the waves coming behind me. Then I was picked up and tossed through the air again. Rinse, lather, repeate.
I don’t know how many times this was done, but suddenly I heard a voice asking me if I needed any help. I turned, looked and saw a guy standing there in mid thigh water while I was swimming next to him. “You can stand up” he said. It took me a couple of tries to stand up as my feet would give way and my body and brain would immediately revert back into swimming mode. I finally made it to shore, where I knelt in the sand and looked up. That red light was some radio tower in the distance.
So yeah, I can swim. I have no fear of water, day or night, shallow or deep. I do greatly respect fast water though as it’s stronger than I am, even back when I was in my prime. You have to learn to work with it, take what it gives you, read it, make it your friend.