They spent a hundred days confined to their homes, in the first phase of the forty imposed by the Peruvian government, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the country last year.
On 101, certain restrictions were lifted and the two friends were able to meet again. When they saw each other again, they decided to do something to make themselves feel better. Both are sporty, but at that time clubs and gymnasiums were still closed and the use of the car in town was very restricted.
Living by the sea in Lima, Patricia Woyke, 64, and Karen Scheuch, 55, invited friends to swim in open water, although few have experienced the style. So Woyke, founder of Peru’s first windsurfing school in the 1990s, and Scheuch, a Pilates teacher, guided their classmates – and the group, named Las Truchas (the trout), got together. enlarged.
Swimming in the sea requires specific techniques, such as controlling your breathing for several hours. It is also necessary to give more effective blows to cut the waves and overcome the tides and currents and to breathe less often to avoid wear and tear on the necks.
Nothing that cannot be learned with constant effort and training.
In the case of the Peruvian capital, just off the Pacific, a very cold region, neoprene clothing is recommended. And you must also learn to use them, because there are specific techniques for swimming in this outfit. “Today we are over 60 swimmers. Swimming in the morning gives a new impetus to the day, in this country where everything is so difficult, where we have so much sad news because of the pandemic, in addition to the work restrictions, the things we cannot do ”, a Woyke told Folha, over the phone.
“And, as if that weren’t enough, this political situation that only brings helplessness, no hope. And suddenly when we step into the sea we are renewed and positive to face the rest of the day.”
The group grew as the more flexible quarantine allowed the inclusion of friends from other parts of the city. For Woyke and Scheuch, who live by the sea, walking to the meeting point is already part of the exercise, unlike those who come from far away and need permission to move.
Another obstacle is that the beaches remain closed. You can go in there, but you cannot stay on the sand and you have to go straight to the sea. And this transit is controlled. “We already had to flee from the police at the start. They weren’t as used to open water swimmers here as they were to surfers. Today there are many of us. Besides us, other bands emerged, and that made things easier. “
Peru is at the end of a chaotic presidential term that has weakened its institutions – it has been four presidents in five years. Now, the second round of the election brought together two candidates with few votes, leftist Pedro Castillo and right-hander Keiko Fujimori. This whole scenario is set in the midst of a pandemic that has led the country to lead the death rate per million population in South America.
“In our group we have people from different political positions and we try not to talk about the subject. We are already living a day in and day out marked by this debate and on how to deal with the pandemic, so it is a great pressure on the family. and friends. Together, Las Truchas is all about swimming, ”says Woyke.
In addition to the training on weekdays, in which they swim, in general, from 3 km to 5 km, there is a longer one, on Saturday, which can reach 10 km. And you have to choose the routes, observe the sea, the current, choose the equipment and contact the boatman who takes them, the fisherman Superman, who helps define the routes every day. On Sunday, you don’t get anything. The beaches are totally forbidden.
“Once I went swimming, an older neighbor said to me, ‘Wow, I wish I had done that when I was younger. “The same day I found a trainer to teach her how to swim in the sea, and today she accompanies us every day,” he says. In the group there are people from 18 to 83 years old.
Now Las Truchas has pages on social networks, a flag and they are starting to more accurately record their routes, in which they often meet, for example, sea lions and dolphins.