Is Peter the only Apostle who can swim?
In the Gospel from the Mass from the third Sunday in Easter (John 21:1-19), Peter jumps in the water when he realizes that Jesus Christ is on the beach. Is Peter the only Apostle who can swim? Here is the full scripture:
 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe’ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.  Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan’a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb’edee, and two others of his disciples were together.  Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.
 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.”  He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.  That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea.
 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.  When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”  So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.  This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”  A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.  Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.”  (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.”
John, the beloved Apostle, offers a strong witness to the primacy of Peter. Consider:
- It is Peter who takes the initiative to go fishing and takes the other Apostles out in his boat.
- It is Peter’s net in which the miraculous catch of fish is caught.
- It is Peter who John (the beloved disciple) seeks to inform that Jesus is on the shore.
- It is Peter who jumps in the water and swims to shore to draw closer to Jesus.
- It is Peter who drags the 153 fish to Jesus after He requests that they bring the fish to Him.
- It is Peter who Jesus singles out to ask if he loves Him three times.
- It is Peter who Jesus instructs to “Feed My lambs”, “Tend My sheep” and “Feed My sheep.”
- It is Peter who Jesus tells, in veiled terms, that Peter will die a death to glorify God.
- It is Peter who Jesus says to “Follow Me.”
This recollection of the beloved Apostle John is remarkable for several reasons:
- John, who is the beloved, could have claimed that he, John, was the most important disciple. Jesus did have a special fraternal love for John (the beloved). John’s Gospel was written well after (most scholars would say in about 90 a.d.) Peter’s martyrdom (mid 60’s a.d.), so John is the last remaining Apostle and has the “last word”.
- John not only does not claim primacy, but clearly points to Peter’s primacy in this gospel account.
- It is Peter and Jesus who are the focus of the story, a story which has deep metaphorical references to Christ’s Catholic Church and the leadership role that Peter would play in evangelization (e.g. catching fish and caring for lambs/sheep are references to evangelization and the Church).
Peter was probably not the only Apostle who could swim.
But Peter clearly is the Apostle who has primacy and is the leader of the Church.
Today, Peter’s successor, Pope Francis, continues to lead the Church.