Swimming in outdoor lakes and rivers is one of life’s most pleasurable experiences, even transcending (some say) the sensations of being in the womb.
But what cannot be taught is emotional resilience in the water or put another way "Gratitude". Ones underlying nature or personality shines through very quickly when open water swimming in dealing with a challenge or adversity. It strips away the professional and politically correct varnish. "It seems in this you either have it or you don't" and its rare to find an open water swimmer without it.