Teacher swims outdoors for 1,131 days straight and counting
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, August 2, 2019 5:01PM PDT
VICTORIA – The first day Caleb walked toward the water was his last day of teaching before the summer break.
"I remembered being a kid and living on the river," he says with a smile. "I'd go every day."
So – on a whim – Caleb committed to go swimming outdoors every single day for the rest of the summer. It felt so good, he continued into the fall.
"It started to get a little chilly," he recalls. "And then my son says, 'I bet you couldn't go until New Year's.'"
Caleb accepted the bet. "People were walking around with their hood on and their toques," Caleb says. "And I'm like, 'What are you doing man?!'"
Despite snowy days, Caleb achieved his goal. And then set another: "Why not just go for a year?"
He shows me video of him diving during snow days and windy days.
On the 365th day, you can see him running along a dock surrounded by cheering friends and family before diving into water. But instead of stopping, Caleb just kept swimming.
"Well it's summer again. Why should I stop swimming now?" he explains with a smile. "And now I couldn't imagine not doing it!"
That's because Caleb says he been swimming outdoors daily for three years. "1131 days in a row," he says. "Without fail. Broken ribs. Sickness."
Travel too. Although most days he's diving into the Pacific (the Gorge waterway near his home), Caleb has swam in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, a U.K. lake, and an Alberta swamp.
"There were some 'Stand By Me' leech moments," he grimaces, recalling the iconic scene where a character has to pull a leech out of his underwear. "That was definitely the low moment when I was like, 'Why, Caleb?'" he says with a laugh. "'Why are you doing this?!'"
The reason why, Caleb says, is quite simple. He explains by diving in and a few seconds later emerging from the water with a deep, contented sigh. "It's a perfect moment."
No matter how you're feeling about your job, your partner, your kids, your place in the world, once a day – if just for a moment – everything will simply feel right.
"It's just a daily little piece of me that says, 'You can keep going. You can do it.'" He smiles. "It makes you feel that little joy you had as a kid."