It’s been busy at the pool this week. Actually, it’s been busy at both pools this week. On Monday the Vaughn Center pool at 6:15 in the morning was all lanes full. This morning Master’s Swim at Marmion Academy was jammed with people as well.
I don’t mind sharing lanes in these instances. The only problem I have is getting too close to the heavy lane markers with my elbow. I struck one the other day and earned a harsh little pool rash for the error. It stung.
Yet I’d much rather risk a little bad form on my own than selfishly swim in my own pool lane while some other swimmer sits on a deck bench waiting for a lane to open up. That’s really bad form. Because if that’s me, I want someone to offer a half lane so I can swim too. I share lanes all the time. Why not extend that favor to another swimmer?
Not all people do. Some seem to view their good luck as a form of personal providence. Whatever. Their loss, in my opinion.
This mornings lane share proved interesting. She was a big gal by any measure. Yet she swam smoothly, and when it came time to do a set of 12 X 25M on the 30s, she surged ahead of me on the third repeat and from then on I never caught her.
Swimming is unique that way. Your success is not necessarily defined by body type. In fact, watching the folks up at the Madison Open Water Swim, it was apparent that while many of the most elite swimmers have that lean shape, there are many body types that do quite well in the swimming category. Big people aren’t necessarily slower in the water.
It’s easy to think it’s all buoyancy. But actually, it’s not. You still have to swim, and displacing water requires energy. But the truly great thing about swimming as a sport is the lack of impact. Surely the big gal in my lane would struggle with a three-mile run while the 1500 meters she swam today in the pool fit her like silk on a summer’s morn.
I must admit the water shifted a bit whenever we passed each other in the lane. It’s something one needs to get used to with any swimmer. The practice of bobbing through the occasional wave is good for guys like me. I’m still thrown off balance by the washing machine effect created by other swimmers during the early stages of a triathlon swim. Thus the more one gets used to swimming through with bodies close to you, the better.
I haven’t swum much in the ocean or cavorted with otters in the kelp beds, but at one point the gal in my lane did a flip turn and surfaced much like a seal creature in the water. Her movement in her black suit was elegant. I half expected to see a flipper break the surface. Well, actually it did. She was wearing those little half-flippers for some of her intervals.
Then I looked over two lanes to see my wife coursing through the pool. I adore seeing her swim. Her strong shoulders are lovely. I’m so proud she’s my wife. She’s my slick seal and I’m grateful for that.
All told, there truly is a flow to it all. Finally, I feel like I belong in the pool, curling through the water like the rest of the human seals. And that’s the deal. We’re all sharing one big lane and it’s called water.