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  • Writer's pictureErin Spineto

How Do You Swim with a Backpack??

As we prepare for the One Drop Caicos Adventure in June 2017, we are doing a ton of training. These training diaries are stories from the field and things I have learned from my time in training.

June is fast approaching and training is really starting to amp up. My long rides and paddles have been ambushed by a stretch of bad weather, but a little shifting of my schedule has kept me on course. That, and a good indoor bike trainer.

I have added land paddling, where you ride a skateboard and use a paddle with a blunt end to propel yourself along the ground, to my schedule to get in some paddle training after school since there is not enough time in the day right now to get in a good workout after work without paddling alone in the dark. It has infused my workouts with a fun new challenge.

I am totally encouraged, also, by seeing the posts from my teammates about their long swims and rides. It is nice to have their success motivate me. And because I don’t want to let them down, I am way more motivated to stick to my workout schedule.

I love looking at my One Drop App and seeing a full week with huge orange spots nearly every day. Orange is the color used in the app for activity. The bigger the spot, the longer you were active. It is a great way to reward myself at the end of a long week.


I have been looking into how to design the rig we will use during our swims. We will be traversing several cays on foot and then swimming the distance between the cays. Which means we will have to tow our backpacks behind us in the water.

We will have Blood Red Clothing dry backpacks, which are phenomenal. They are completely watertight. But I will have to design a rig to ensure they float and find a way to attach them to a waist band so that we can pull them behind us with minimal drag. That process will be a lot of trial and error. And once I have the system in place, each of the girls will need to assemble their own rig and try it out in the water to get used to it. It will for sure change their swimming dynamics. I think I am most excited about this aspect of the trip, because I love to design and build things and I have never taken on something like this rig before.

I have also been doing a good deal of research in January about the tides and currents in the area. The channels we will be swimming will be the most dangerous parts of Day 3.

The Caicos chain is situated on an underwater plateau, so the water is pretty shallow for a good distance out from land. But when the tides drop, a good chunk of water will drop off the plateau in all directions.

Towards the south where it is open to the ocean this is not as big of an issue. But to the North and West where we will be swimming that same amount of water will have to pass between the islands in small channels. The current here can be swift and pull us off the plateau into the deep ocean.

We will be timing our swims accordingly to avoid the fastest of the currents and swimming where we have plenty of room to drift without getting into trouble.

The last of the channels is the busiest with boaters since it leads to the biggest marina and also is a place for water skiing. I will be working on our swim rig to increase visibility in this area so we don’t get run over by a speed boat.

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