Embracing the Swimming Culture After a Move to Australia

SYDNEY, Australia — The spring sun might have been warm, but the Pacific Ocean off the edge of Sydney felt like an ice tray. I put my head down and tried to breathe in a steady rhythm as I swam faster than usual to warm up, keeping an eye on a couple of swimmers heading in my direction along the rocky coast.

When the distance between us shortened, both of them stopped and seemed to be pointing. I picked up my head.

“Bull ray,” said one of them, a woman about my age wearing an orange swim cap. I peaked underwater. It was midtide, the water was clear, but all I

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