Jessica is a long time member of Spencer, having been a committee member as well as helping out with coaching.
Where are you based right now and what are the lockdown rules?
I’m currently based in Austin, Texas. The lockdown here in Austin took some time to come into effect due to the lack of direction at the national level and then at the state level, as well. In the end, our mayor decided upon stricter measures than much of the rest of the state (strict in cities and lax in rural areas). The “shelter in place” rules stayed in effect until the first of May, where at the state level, our governor relaxed the rules substantially. Austin still has stricter measures than most of the rest of the state. Some businesses have reopened, but the majority remain closed. It’s a hodgepodge because many businesses are choosing to remain closed to protect their employees, while others choose to open, because it is technically allowed. I believe this means there will be a second wave that will force everything to shut down again.
Can you remember your last swim session?
Yes, it was March 23, where we were practising aquatic distancing.
How are you coping with being out of the water?
At first I didn’t mind. I take lots of very long walks (2 hours) in my neighbourhood, where houses are spaced far apart, roads are wide and people are practising distancing. Distancing is pretty easy, since I might see a total of 10-15 people on any given walk. I ran once and remembered why I dislike it. My legs hurt for 3 days, so that was abandoned. I’ve been doing weights and Pilates and the odd exercise video with my Austin housemate. Cardio has been lacking.
I now know every house in the neighbourhood and have assessed their landscaping skills in great detail.
I get excited when I get to drive to the grocery store (a major outing), where they provide curb side service (order online, pull into a parking spot and text the parking spot number, someone brings your groceries and pops them into the boot. No contact whatsoever. It’s brilliant!
What I’ve enjoyed most are the weekly online happy hours with pan-European translation industry colleagues and friends, though these start rather early in the day for me to join in the imbibing. I did it once and the rest of the day was a write-off! It’s great to see them every week rather than a handful of times a year.
What I’ve found to be most frustrating is that I finally, after a few post-shoulder-surgery setbacks, achieved some level of swim fitness only to have to find it yet again.
What do you miss most?
Swimming in pristine, cool (not quite cold) water in the warm sunshine, which is abundant here. Otherwise, just going out when the notion strikes me and socialising with friends.
How are you getting on with Steve’s gutbusters?
Which competitions have you missed/will you miss and how will that affect you?
I missed US Nationals which were supposed to be held in San Antonio (about 1 hour south of Austin) last month. 2020 is the 50th anniversary of US Masters, so it would have been a big deal. Claudia Goldschmidt was supposed to fly over for this and I was disappointed not to see her. Europeans was in my plans, but I abandoned those rather early, assuming they would be postponed or cancelled. I was planning to spend the summer in London and enter a few open water and pool events. Looking forward it’s really hard to say right now what my plans are.
What are you most looking forward to when you can get back in the water?
The loosening of restrictions is enabling my club here to reopen for training on the 11th of May. We are able to do this, because the facility is private and only used for training purposes for the resident age group and masters teams. We have very strict rules to follow for arrival and departure–in costumes–no access to changing rooms. Social distancing at all times. With 20+ short course lanes we are allowed no more than 2 people per lane, starting at opposite ends of the pool, circle swimming only. No more than 40 people are allowed in the pool area at any one time and we must register online in advance so they can manage numbers. This worked well in March and everyone abided by the rules. Covid cannot survive in chlorinated water and with the aquatic distancing, I think the risk of infection is very low.