it’s been a long time since I’ve seriously swam laps. Too long. My husband and I are at our first visit at the local college rec center. The olympic size pool has lanes designated for lap swimmers. I’ve been struggling with running and thought that swimming would help build stamina for the 5K challenge. It would also give my aching knees and hip joints some relief.
Gingerly I walk across the wet tile towards the pool steps wondering how long I will last. My endurance confidence has been bruised from my first 5K training run outside. Am I going to have the same experience as I did on my first outside run? I immerse myself in the pool and immediately feel comfortable in a watery world…wet, smooth and I’m ready to push off for the first lap. The laps come fairly easy. Lap after lap. I’m not breaking any speed records but it feels good to swim stroke after stroke smoothly and fluently.
As I swim I think back to my swim beginnings.
Lap after lap. All because of my mom I can swim. Looking back I’m surprised that my mom learned to swim considering her mother, my grandmother, was frightened of water as was my dad. Water baby classes were not in vogue in the late fifties and early sixties. But as soon as my brother and I met the age requirements, my mother had us enrolled in swimming classes at the YMCA. Before a swimmer could move on to the next class a swimmer had to meet criteria for that class. I remember not being able to meet part of the criteria for the Minnow class. I just had to take the class over until I met the 25 yard swim requirement. There was no stigma of not meeting the criteria. You just took the class as many times as you needed until you were strong enough.
Lap after lap. Thinking back to one of the days I jumped off my dad’s cousin’s boat into the warm ocean waters surrounding the Keys. I’m paddling around when I see my serious looking parents motioning me to come in. I climb aboard and look into the clear water…a huge curious stingray swimming that was swimming behind me.
Lap after lap. Thinking back to the day I’m treading water with a heart pounding with excitement…waiting for a dolphin to swim by so I can catch a ride by grabbing a fin. Then feeling pure joy as I am being pulled through the water by this smooth and sleek creature.
Lap after lap. I remember the college pool and the craziness of not taking the time to dry my hair after swimming laps and walking in freezing weather back to the dorm. My hair would be frozen by the time I made it back to the room.
Just for old times sake I walk out of the Goshen Rec Center without drying my wet hair. It is freezing cold. My hair doesn’t have time to freeze in the short walk but just for a moment I recapture the past.
Reading thoughts: I’m more fluent in swimming than reading. How do readers become fluent? Practice, practice, and more practice. Pushing their eyes in front of their voice. Need to keep pushing my feet towards the running goal.
I have just begun the first chapter of Glenn Stout’s book, Young Woman & the Sea: How Trudy Ederle conquered the English Channel. It promises to be a fascinating read about Trudy Ederle and swimming.