Friday, December 9, 2016

Notes from the deep end (of the pool)

There is a whole culture to lap swimming that I never noticed until now, even though I used to go regularly when I lived in a town with a pool. The serious people, the ones who go all the time, bring little carpet remnants to stand on while changing back into street clothes. They bring locks for the lockers. They have their own lane! (One time a woman saw me approach an empty lane she was heading for and actually said, "No! Oh no!" I backed off to a different lane).

I'm an opportunistic swimmer now, since the nearest pool is 75 miles away. I go when I have dentist appointments or when some other reason compels me to be in town. The pool I haunt is nice because it is never crowded. You never have to do the dreaded circle swim (you find out how bad of a swimmer you really are when you have to sprint to stay in the circle). I have never had to split a lane. Instead, it is usually me and a handful of older ladies.

"Swimming is SO BORING," other people say, but I don't really find it so. I like the meditative state that long runs, hikes or swims can bring. I feel like people are used to being constantly entertained and distracted but there is value in free thought. You can definitely get into free range thinking while swimming. You know, sometimes it is good to be bored.

I took this image from the City of LaGrande Webpage. Don't go in lane 1, whatever you do!


As I swim, I see two guys doing pullups on the diving boards. Other people, less serious, hang on at the deep end and talk. A woman does the butterfly, the hardest stroke. There's a woman jogging down the lane. I swim a mile and all the hard things I have been thinking evaporate. I am left with a clean slate.

Do you swim? Ever fought anyone over a lane? Circle swim, yes or no? Can you do the butterfly?


14 comments:

  1. Mary the only time I swim is in mountain lakes that we've backpacked into
    ( weather permitting). Or sometimes in the Columbia River when we have the kayaks out but not so much anymore cause over the years the water in the Columbia has gotten so dirty and smelly, very sad. I don't consider myself a good swimmer, I can swim and keep myself afloat but that's about it.

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    1. Brr mountain lakes! I jump in and right back out.

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  2. I hate to circle swim. I have never fought over a lane. I would swim laps in the rec. side of the pool with all the kids diving and swimming wildly before I ever fought for a lane. I have done the butterfly and no it wasn't pretty. I look more like a Flounder...haha. Swimming is one of my happy places for the simple fact that it clears my mind.

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    1. Flounder! If I came to the pool and it looked like I had to circle swim I might leave. I like being able to go as slowly as I want. Part of what's good about swimming.

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  3. I think swimming is more meditative than running. Your ears fill with water and it's so peaceful having one of the senses blocked out. I took a lot of swim lessons as a kid, then some in college, but I never had the upper body strength to do the butterfly stroke with any finesse. I always look like I'm the person who splashes around wildly just before I drown.

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    1. I probably would drown if I tried butterfly again. I felt like I was getting it once but I stopped practicing and it's all over!

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  4. I took adult swim lessons when we lived in New Hampshire and had access to a pool. I loved it!! Although, I am not a strong swimmer at all. I hope someday we live near a pool again so I can get back into it (I have a goal to do a triathlon someday, which is becoming a more distant goal because I no longer run anymore).

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    1. Adult swim lessons would be good. I once thought of a triathlon but my bike skills are not that great...so no.

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    2. As you probably know, there are some team triathlons, where J. could bike, you could swim and someone could run??

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    3. Yup, I believe Wallowa Tri can be done team style. It's a super fun Tri in a beautiful setting with an easy course. A course you are very familiar with.

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    4. They didn't have it last year. Not sure if they are going to keep it anymore.

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  5. I signed up for "Senior Swim" sessions to start in January. Free tuition through the university. One can do the aqua-exercises or swim in the lap pool. We shall see...haven't swum in years, used to do it pretty well when cousin and I swam across the Fayette (UP of Michigan) harbor looong time ago.

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    1. Free! Free is good! It should come back to you easily.

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