HAPpy People - Andrea Milano

December 18, 2018

How did you find the River Huggers and what appealed to you about the group? 
My good friend, Hilary, told me about the River huggers one morning over coffee. It was just the tease I needed to show up one June morning at the Fireman's dock. Actually, my first swim launched from Audrey McCall beach and I lost my goggles that time. But that was the season we gained access to the Firehouse dock (our official home now) and really the rest is history.


I hear you were big into water polo. How’d that happen?

I hadn't swum competitively since I aged up from my last 8 & under race, but a friend suggested going out for the water polo team my freshman year in college. It was a club team. We paid for everything ourselves and worked out at the most inconvenient times (last in line behind all of the varsity pool sports). But the community was amazing. I loved the game, and by my first year out of college I was volunteering as a coach for the team.


What do you think about when you swim?
Everything and nothing. What I’m going to eat later, chores I need to do, how far away the fish are, the sun streaming off my fingertips...

Where is your favorite place to swim?
Wherever I am in the moment that presents an opportunity to swim is my favorite.

Do you have a dream swim you'd love to do?

That's a tough one. I've swum in some pretty special places (the Bosphorus Strait, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco Bay, all the lakes in Oregon). I'm currently intrigued by the Corfu - Albania Channel swim.

Tell us about your adventures at the Duckworth Dock last summer. What are your hopes for it next year?
I loved the activity at the Duckworth this past summer. I feel as though we really made a statement about the usability of the dock for people who want to enjoy the river. Some favorite moments:  the morning of the Bridge swim, the evening when folks pulled off the freeway to jump in the river because they saw us, the night my cousins from New Jersey showed up and their kids (aged 7 & 9) just jumped right into the river with their second cousin, Jack. All loving the river. Next year – permanent ladders and a welcoming dock periodically cleaned of goose poop, full of river huggers.

You have a fascination with Christo – tell us about that and where you’ve traveled to see his exhibits. 
I studied Christo in college and am passionate about following his work. It is the unique way he engages with his environment and the temporary nature of his work that intrigues me. I’ve camped in the same spot where he and Jean-Claude lived during the installation of The Rifle Gap Curtain. I was in Central Park for the opening day of The Gates. I traveled to Lake Iseo in 2016 to walk on the Floating Piers, and made it to London this September to see the floating Mastaba in Hyde Park. My only regret is that I didn't see the Running Fence in Marin County as a young child (that's on my parents).

What do you do for your day job?
I am a Librarian (capital L) for children.

Have you encountered swimming-related books you've loved?

I really enjoyed Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox, and am currently reading Tough Girl by Carolyn Wood. A favorite childhood picture book is The Paintbox Sea by Doris Herold Lund and illustrated by Symeon Shimin.

Wine or water? Pick one.
Wine. I drink water in the morning and wine at night.

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