Amazing Race's Idries and Jamil: It Was Hard Getting Over Our Fear of Water
Idries and Jamil were thrown into the deep end on Sunday's Amazing Race. The twin brothers and OB/GYNs were forced to confront their fear of water when both Detour options took place underwater in Bora Bora. They struggled and eventually came in last. But before you chastise them for breaking two of Race's cardinal rules (know how to drive stick shift and know how to swim), know that the twins did take swimming lessons before the show. So what happened?
Do you know how far behind you were?
Idries: We didn't know how far behind we were, but we knew we were last. But we didn't know if we were on anybody's heels or just totally out of it.
When was the last time you saw a team?
Idries: I think it was while we were still going for the pearls. After that, we didn't see any other teams. When we did the table Detour underwater, we didn't see any other teams there and we didn't see any evidence of teams at the stilts either.
Jamil: It's hard to say how long [we were at the Detours], but I would guess we were trying to do the pearls for two-and-a-half hours. The chest one was quick. That took, like, 10 minutes. [Laughs]
Do you regret not doing the chest first?
Jamil: Yeah, and that was our original intention. We were thinking we were going to do the chest thing first. It's kind of funny. In Season 18 finale, when they were riding bikes underwater, that's what I was picturing. Then I thought we should do the chest and when we did the chest, it was quick, so I was like, "Oh, my God! We should've done this first."
Jen from that season had a fear of water too. Where did yours come from? Did you never learn how to swim? Did you think you could go through the Race without a water task?
Jamil: Our fear of water is from childhood. The way we learned how to swim was at day camp and they just threw us in the deep end and we had to sink or swim. So ever since then, I was afraid of water and we didn't actually learn to swim until we were teenagers. And we knew we would probably have some water tasks, so we took swimming classes before so we could be somewhat OK in the water. For me, it was more a fear of being in the open water. I don't care about a swimming pool, but the ocean freaks me out. If you watch, when we had to, we were swimming. It was just getting over that emotional fear of that deep mass of ocean that was hard.
So all your swimming lessons were in the pool?
Jamil: Pretty much!
Idries: We live nowhere near a swimmable body of water. Just Lake Michigan, [and] the only people in there are not alive! [Laughs] We didn't have much of a choice!
You considered taking the Detour penalty first. How serious were you about that?
Jamil: I think fear played a role, but I was also trying to strategize. If we think [swimming] is our limitation, maybe it's better to take the penalty instead of [wasting] two hours trying to do it and then take the penalty, which would be eight hours total we'd lose as opposed to six.
Idries: I didn't want to do that because A) a six-hour penalty would kills us and B) I felt like it was something we could do. I knew we wouldn't do it as fast as everybody else, but I knew we wouldn't die out there. [Laughs] So I figured, let's just do it and if it takes us three times as long as anybody else, at least we did it. I don't quit in life.
Were you aware that Max and Katie, and the country singers were behind from their penalty last leg?
Idries: Yeah, that was our thought process going into it. We knew they were like two hours behind, so I figured we could play around for like an hour or so since we had a little bit of a buffer.
You came up with the Express Pass plan last leg. (The first team givesthe second Pass to the second team in that group.) Were you surprised to see John and Jessica wavering?
Jamil: I wasn't surprised. They wanted to do what they thought was fair. The reason we came up with that plan was because if we came in first, we didn't want to be in that position of choosing between teams, so we came up with that agreement so nobody's feelings would get hurt or take it personally. It was a little surprising to see them wavering, but it is a competition, so we understand.
Would you have kept your word?
Idries: Absolutely! I think your word is your bond. I kind of wavered before we started the Race between being totally upright and doing things because it's a game. At the end of the day, I think my main thing was, I knew my wife would be watching, my kids would be watching and our patients would be watching. So, it wouldn't have been worth it to go against my word.
What are you up to now?
Idries: Sitting here at work! Playing on the computer. [Laughs]
Jamil: We're back at work, seeing patients.
No more swimming in oceans?
Jamil: [Laughs] I'm planning on being out there and conquering that fear. I'm seeing if you can go out to some tropical environment and learn ocean-swimming.
Idries: You heard it here first. In a couple of years, we'll be back! [Laughs]
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