Take On That Next Challenge, Drew Hunthausen, Blind Inspirational Speaker

Excited and nervous were just a couple of the emotions that consumed me as I got in the car to start the trip up north last Thursday for the Trans Lake Tahoe Swim. My guide and friend, Greg, as well as his parents, shared the car as we started our adventure. I didn’t know exactly what to expect or how the swim would go but I did know that no matter what, the experience would be worth it! 

Six hours into our drive we stopped in Sacramento to pick up another blind swimmer who would be on our team. Gabe had done this swim the year before and it was great to hear about it from a blind perspective. 

When we finally arrived at the cabin in Lake Tahoe it was a relief to get out of the car and be there. We unpacked and left to meet up with some other swimmers to get a bite to eat.  Talking and laughing put me at ease and I really started to get excited about the event.

The next 24 hours or so went by quickly, and before I knew it, I was getting ready to enter the water for the first swim of the event.  I was nervous, scared, and excited as I waited to take that first plunge. It was going to be a long day with a lot of swimming!

This was my first year swimming this event. It consisted of 5 blind swimmers, including myself, and their guides. Each team started with a 30 min swim before switching off every 10 minutes. We swam 10 miles all together. It was exhilarating as we waited on the boat anticipating our next turn in the water.  As I cheered my teammates on I could sense the frenzy and excitement that filled the boat.

The day got hot, all of us got tired, and we looked forward to completing the race. One thing that hit me over and over again throughout the day was that none of us could do it alone. It was an incredible feat of teamwork and determination to beat the odds as the first all blind team to finish The Trans Lake Tahoe Swim. 

As the rough waters knocked me aside and I swallowed a mouthful of dirty water, I remembered to face the challenging waters head on, and to keep swimming. My turn would soon be over and I would be able to rest on the boat as one of my incredible teammates took my place. 

After over 6 hours of swimming, we finally reached the finish. We had done it! Not as individuals, but as a team. 

My friends, just like almost anything you do for the first time in life, you don’t know if you have what it takes to meet the challenge, and it can be scary. I want to encourage you to keep moving forward and keep facing the challenges life throws your way. It will make you stronger! Don’t face them alone. Each of us needs friends, family, and even people we don’t yet know to help us along our journey. When we can do this, no challenge will ever be too big and we can know that the best is yet to come!

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