Jill Yoneda

2016 Great Bear Swimmer

“Water is like love, too little and you will dehydrate, too much and you will drown”

I have always been drawn to water.  From my childhood spent training with clubs in pools and more recently marathon swimming in open water.  It has been, and still continues to be, an amazing journey for me.

Growing up a competitive swimmer I loved the smell of chlorine, the laughter that echoed off the walls of the pool, the splashing and noisy bubbles the water would make. I loved the structure of swim practices and swim meets, the endless routine of swimming back and forth in the lane while feeling the water wash over my back.  It brought a calmness to my every busy life.  Even after suffering an accident that left me without the full use of one of my legs and confined to a brace, swimming made me feel ‘whole’.

In 2002 I travelled to Thailand for 6 months where I was introduced to the underwater world of scuba diving by my sister, Rae. I was captivated by the abundance of life and colour and was soon holding my Divemaster ticket and sharing my enthusiasm with others. From that point on I spent all my free time underwater.

In 2004 I had a type 2 decompression accident. The doctors found a hole (patent foramen oval – PFO) in my heart and told me I could never scuba dive again. Determined to keep my head under water I signed up for a freediving course with Performance Freediving International.