On December 31st & January 1st, Team SFQ'ers all over the world were together both in spirit and in person celebrating the new year with 100x100s in the pool. This goal was on the calendar months in advance, and our ladies cheered each other on through the preparation to tackle this workout. Then, wherever possible, team members met up on the day to swim the workout together. In fact, in Southern California, we had a crew of ten SFQ women strong at one pool!! But what we found most impressive of all of these swims was when adult-onset swimmer Shuntae McKelvin conquered her first-ever 10,000 yard swim . . . We bow down to her and her story, which she shares in our Q & A below. 

Shuntae, We are beyond impressed with your first-ever 100x100s effort on New Year's Eve. The dedication and determination required to spend nearly 6 hours in a pool is mind-blowing to most. Can you talk about what inspired you to take on a challenge of this magnitude? 

It definitely was a lot of time, but having company and knowing that so many people were cheering me on and doing the same 100x100 made it a lot easier mentally, not to mention more fun!  I didn't even realize how long I'd been there until I saw the time (which thankfully included breaks!).  I'd always kind of wanted to try a 100x100, but it seemed intimidating as a slower swimmer.  However, after I DNF'd my first attempt at Ironman Louisville , my season just felt unfinished and I needed something big to shoot for.  Since I had a decent distance base to start training from, the 100x100 didn't sound so intimidating anymore - and then, my coach was also doing it so she built it into my plan.  The fact that so many of the SFQ ladies were doing it as well was just a happy bonus!

You've said you consider yourself more of a runner than a swimmer. Can you talk a bit about your history with swimming, where you started, and how you progressed to the point of being able to complete 100x100??

I wasn't an athletic child and didn't grow up swimming. As a matter of fact, I didn't even learn how to swim until I started lessons back in 2012 in preparation for my first triathlon!  From there, it has been a lot of hard work but I do love it.  If you'd told me in 2012 that I'd be using my Ironman swim training to start building up to 10,000 yards, I'd never believe it.  Funny how life works!

Tell us about the swim: was it harder or easier than you had imagined? And what were your toughest moments?

Since the build was written into my plan, I had long swims each week and got up to 7000 yards before the big day.  That helped a lot, so it was mostly easier than I expected.  It got really tough between 8000-8500, but at that point I knew I just had to keep going. I took a little break to fuel and stretch, and just kept moving forward. 

Can you share a bit about the inspiration you had from your TeamSFQ sisters throughout your swim?

Truly wonderful and overwhelming.  Unbeknownst to me, Shannon Bol had reached out to some of the ladies - and they did not disappoint.  I had FB messages, emails, and even a video!  Shannon printed out the notes and gave them to me before we got started, and they were labeled for me to read at different times during the swim - beginning, when I needed inspiration, and one to read whenever I got to my new longest distance.  It was such an amazing feeling to know that so many people (including some that I do not know well) were cheering me on and sending happy thoughts - or kicks in the pants!

And finally, after diving into the New Year in such a big way, what's on tap for you in 2019?? We'd love to hear about what other smashfests you have on tap!:)

2019 is a bit up in the air right now, but up first I will be running the Backyard to Backyard Challenge in Asheville, NC on 3/17.  After that, I am considering Eagleman 70.3, Ohio 70.3, and possible redemption at Ironman Maryland.  I'm sure there will be some shorter local races as well. 

Hillary Biscay