The middle-aged guy who holds court in the fast lane

Pools have archetypes: the elderly lady in the flowered bathing cap doing head up breast stroke in the slow lane, the triathlete who carries her gear in a mesh bag and wears an Iron Man bathing cap, the older man who does whip kick and butterfly arms on his back and takes over entire lanes with his wide arm-and-leg radius. And then the amazing swimmer who is clearly part-dolphin and part liquid mercury, whose flip turns are what my dreams are made of.

And then there is always the middle-aged dude who holds court in the fast lane. I don't think I have ever been at a pool without this guy standing in the fast lane, not swimming, of course, talking to the regulars (anyone who will talk to him really), discussing intervals and splits and technique. He's the guy who judges everyone's stroke (loudly! Vocally!). The guy who offers unsolicited coaching tips, the guy who tells you you're not kicking from your hips, that you've got to work on your entry, to watch your crossover. The guy whose ego is so big, he will only swim his 4, maybe 6 lengths wearing fins to ensure he'll actually pass people. 

I can't stand this guy, his ego, his machismo, his mansplaining swimming when his stroke is never very strong. 

But after the lifeguard blows the whistle, and length swim ends, I wonder if he feels small and deflated, walking across the deck to the change room, his chlorine-scented power leaking from him.

I wonder if he starts counting down the minutes until the next length swim while he towels off. I wonder if his heart leaps when he locks his sensible shoes in a locker, the quarter ca-chunking as he turns the key. 

  • Lindsay
  • Monday, April 25, 2016

A day dream of a pool (and my first inclusive change room)

If I had to daydream a perfect pool, it would be The Regent Park Aquatic Centre. There’s light and windows and a twirly slide and a shallow pool and a hot tub and a length pool. It positively sparkles.

 The length pool was even perfectly cold (I’ve gotten so used to doing lengths in bath-water temperatures, it was refreshing, and probably made me swim faster!)

 It was also the first swim Laura and I have ever taken together! (And Rhya was swimming at the same time in a pool across town, so it was very nearly our first Team Swim!)

 Of course, we didn’t check and see what time the pool ended, so it was a shorter-than-usual swim, but the sun was shining and it was pretty much summer outside and I didn’t even have to dry my hair for the bike ride home.

AND there are inclusive change rooms, that, I’ll admit, threw me initially. It’s the first inclusive change room I’ve used and it definitely meant I couldn’t go on autopilot. Leave the suit on in the shower, LZV! I got hit on in the fast lane, and it felt uncomfortable (not quite unsafe, but not physically comfortable) to be in a change room with the man who “loved my stroke and my smile.”

BUT, ideologically I support inclusive change rooms. For trans and gender queer folks, for parents with kids of a different gender—it’s a terrible thing to not be able to swim because of a stick figure on a door. I’ve since I read this amazing take on it: . “They take getting used to,” Meri Perra writes. “When was the last time any of us here showered with three strange men and two strange women to keep us company?”

 It takes getting used to! Yes. And I’m excited about going back to that glorious sunny window-filled day dream of a pool and getting used to it.

  • Lindsay
  • Tuesday, April 19, 2016

65 minutes

I don't know how long I can swim for, though I want to find that limit, the line were I can't possibly lift my arms out of the water. I imagine it would be somewhere around the two hour mark, though I'm really not sure. I should probably get a babysitter and try it out this summer.

Usually I try to swim for an hour, but I inevitably leave the house late, and miss out on the first 5-10 minutes of length swim's hour slot. But on Monday, after I showed up at my local only to have a sign saying it was closed, I frantically drove over to the next closest pool, and because I had a babysitter watching my kid, and knew I wouldn't get to a pool again all week (and had a head full of ideas and things I needed to think through), I swam for 65 minutes. It's not that long, but it was still longer than usual. I got into that meditative headspace I love so much, and stayed there for a good long while. 

It was one of the very best swims I've had all year.
  • Lindsay
  • Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pool Poetry

When the wonderful salt water pool at the Miles Nadal JCC closes down for renovations and they ask for pool haikus over Twitter, you KNOW we had to add our own #poolhaikus:

A pool of pale sky shimmering at close of day, calling out my name. —Rhya

Dreaming of fast lanes quiet as a summer lake, tired arms, full heart.

Pencil crayon blue 
Glides past my periphery
So quiet below

  • Lindsay
  • Saturday, April 2, 2016

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