River Hugger


HAPpy People - Michelle Boisvert

November 25, 2018

Q. How did you find the River Huggers and how long have you been swimming with us?
A. When I first moved to Portland, I immediately joined the Portland Triathlon Club. I put a request out on their feed—looking for someone to swim with me earlier in the season. Janie Malloy responded and met me at Vancouver Lake. She told me about the River Huggers, so I investigated the group. I’ve been swimming with RH for three seasons now.

Q. You’re a triathlete – what’s your favorite event?

A. It’s really a toss-up between the swim and run. If I could skip the bike portion, I would.
  
Q. Many triathletes hate swimming, why not you?

A. I swam as a kid, but only in a pool and never put my face in the water or knew a proper stroke.  When I started swimming for tris, I realized it was the one sport where I could quickly improve my times because it involves so much technique. I’ll never have the genetics to run a 5-minute mile, but each winter in the pool with a master’s swim group working on my stroke, I saw my swim times improve. And, amid all the chaos of a triathlon swim, it’s much nicer to be comfortable and just enjoy it than panic and muscle your way through.

Q. You’re also a synchronized swimmer, marathon fan, beer lover, and trivia queen. What are your other passions?
A. I’m still searching for my natural gift and will pretty much try anything new in the hopes that I find it… banjo, adult ballet, painting, weight training—still looking. Maybe it’s professional wrestling? I’ll figure it out someday.

Q. What do you think about when you swim? 
A. I tend to make to-do lists, mostly grocery lists. And if I get nervous at all for whatever reason, I sing to myself in my head. For some reason, I always go back to singing the Hank Williams song “Drifting Too Far From the Shore.”

Q. Is it true you met Tina Fey?  Any other celeb sightings you have had?
A. LIES! I only saw her speak at a marketing conference I attended. I’ve never met her in person. I’ve only met three celebrities in my life: Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary; Garrison Keillor; and author Augusten Burroughs.

Q. Tell us about your sweet dog – how’s he doing?
A. Edmond is a 12-year old greyhound. I’ve had him for almost 10 years now. He’s my faithful traveling companion, the dog love of my life and, sometimes, the bane of my existence.

Q. Do you have a dream swim you aspire to do some day?
A. I want to do the Big Shoulder’s Swim in Chicago and would like to someday do one of those swim vacations to the Greek Islands.

Q. What are your swim goals for this year (turns out we’re supposed to set some—who knew)?
A. Hoping to do the Portland Bridge swim again (I’ll likely do relay again—I know at least one other swimmer who’d probably join me). And I’d like to do a few more swim races next summer as well.

Q. What was your favorite swim of last summer?
A. A bunch of us did a 5K swim in the river in West Linn. It was my last open water swim of the season and was probably my favorite this season.

Q. Yeti? Real or not?
A. Nope.

Q. You’re swimming with the Narwhals this year? 
A. Yes! And I think I can finally feel my new tooth coming in!

Q. Did you ever think you’d find love on the fire dock?
A. Of course; that’s really the only reason I swim. All the other reasons I gave were LIES!



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