Every night after dinner, Marin Andersson slips out her front door to swim in the ocean.
The 11-year-old has completed a cold water dip for more than 200 straight days. Luckily for her, she lives right by the beach in Massacre Bay.
“I always tell her to put on a coat and shoes and she doesn’t listen!” laughs her dad Paul. “Sometimes she goes by herself but she always has our dog Griffin with her.”
It all began this summer when a friend of Marin’s — who loves to swim — stayed on the island for a few weeks.
“You can’t go to the beach with Ava and come back dry,” Marin laughs. “Every day we swam in either the ocean or the lake. I noticed I got to 20 days so I wanted to keep doing it.”
The Orcas Island Elementary School fifth-grader has set a goal of completing a swim every day for a year. It’s an aspiration she is confident will come to fruition.
“There’s a little piece of me that’s different because I’ve grown to acclimate and can do things that are harder,” Marin said.
The young athlete generally stays in the water for no longer than four minutes. Her younger sister Sidney often accompanies her, standing watch on the beach or taking a plunge herself. If Marin wants to do a prolonged swim or gather up the oysters that she and her family grow, she’ll don a wet suit. She didn’t need it, however, when she swam during the snowstorm in December, even though the water was “really cold.”
Adds Paul: “I joke with them that I invented cold water swimming but I’ve clearly been surpassed.”
Marin will also swim at Olga Beach or Cascade Lake depending on where she is. If she is traveling or staying at a friend’s house, she’ll submerge in a cold pool or take a frigid bath. This summer, the family journeyed to Sweden where they jumped off high dive platforms on the shorefront. Hotels with pools are also required when traveling.
“She loved the warmer Atlantic ocean,” Paul said. “It was filled with jellyfish and getting stung here and there didn’t stop her.”
This spring, Marin will be joined by her grandmother, who just bought a wetsuit and plans to start swimming once it’s a bit warmer outside. She has also inspired some of her contemporaries to test out their ocean swimming stamina.