Sometimes, when I’m on a boat on the Bosporus, I get this urge to shout YAHOOOOO very loud, just out of happiness. And yesterday, I finally did it. Only I was not on a boat, but in the Bosporus, swimming back-stroke beneath Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge (the northern-most of the two Bosporus bridges). Now and then a wave hit my face or gallons of water entered my nose, but my repeatedly shouted YAHOOOOO was unmistakeable.
Yesterday morning at 10.30 I jumped into the Bosporus on the Anatolian side, along with almost 600 others, for the annual Bosporus swimming race organized by the Turkish Olympic Committee. And now I can’t decide what was the most wonderful experience in the race. Yeah, going underneath the bridge was spectacular of course, really great. But a bit later, the participants had spread out over the water so much that I seemed to be swimming on my own. No, that was not scary, but magical. That feeling got stronger when a flock of birds came my way just above the surface of the water and passed very close next to me.
With the finish in sight the swimmers came together again; at that point, it got a bit scary because you really had to make an effort not to be carried past the finish line by the strong current. While I was swimming, I thought I would be one of the last to finish, because behind me I could hardly see anyone. But in the end I finished in 220th place– with more than 300 swimmers behind me!
A little later on, relaxing on the grass with a cup of tea, another Fine Moment occurred. Suddenly I heard the loudspeaker announce: “Ikinci: Fréderike Geerdink, Hollanda!” What? I sprinted to the victory podium, where it turned out I had won ikinci (second) place in my women’s age group! YAHOOOOO!