Yes, self rescue is key. When I was a newbe, I got talked into doing Browns at 2800 and I had no roll, and did not have much of a brace. Needless to say, I swam just about every rapid. I mostly self rescued with a little help from my boating partner who was probably second guessing talking me into going. Not once was I afraid for my life, but that came from being a swimmer and diver since I was a wee camper, so I was very comfortable in water, just not upside down. After that day, I took a couple of weeks off to let the water come down, and then looked for some easier water on the Taylor to learn on. But I was very adept at self rescue after that day and not losing my gear while swimming the Ark at 2800 was accomplishment enough for me.
Now this is too funny ^.