The Swimiracle

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Last year, every time I figured out childcare and the delicate timing between breastfeeding and napping a 4-month-old, I'd arrive at the pool to locked doors. I swear there were thunderstorms every other day last summer. But somehow, last week, I managed a veritable swimming miracle—a swimiracle, if you will.

The sun shone all day, like it has been every day for days and days, but clouds started rolling in around 5, and I started realizing the swim I had been looking forward to all week (okay, ALL YEAR) was probably not going to happen. I got grumpier and grumpier. I may have even thrown a mini-tantrum. But then, after dinner, the skies starting clearing up, and the sun started shining. I decided to chance it, my terrible thunder stormed track record be damned.



The drive to Smythe Park Pool is a strange one – you take a barely marked winding road off Scarlett Road and then there are trees and more trees, and even more trees, and then a Canada Goose settling down in the centre of the road. And then all of a sudden, a pool. A 50m pool – a rare unicorn in west-end City-run pools.

The changerooms were grimier then most making flip flops essential, BUT the pool was huge – 50 metres seems extra big when you're used to 25m – and it was mostly empty, with trees overhanging and planes flying overhead.

It had just opened after being closed for the earlier bout of thunder. How did I manage to catch this open window? I didn't have time to hesitate, there was 50 metres of turquoise perfection to swim through. Not even the belligerent intoxicated man could ruin my bliss (and thanks to the guard who could see what was happening and intervened quickly!).

My fast lane pal, who tipped me onto this pool, wasn't there, but another fast lane pal was, and I even heard one swimmer say that the three of us in the centre lanes were professional swimmers. Not even close (it might've been our bathing caps more than our swimming that tipped him off), but I'll take it!

The radio was blasting Wish You Were Here, the music was tinny and a bit staticky, like every on-deck radio should be. It is not a fancy pool, but it is a wonderful pool (with the most expansive interlock brick deck!)

I haven't been swimming in a 50m pool since university days (when I fell in love in the fast lane) and it is such a different pace. It's long when you're used to turning around every 25m, getting the push off the wall. My thoughts felt bigger somehow. Not that I was able to hang onto any great insights, but it felt good, having the time to let my thoughts meander.


I even saw some sort of bird of prey being attacked by a red winged black bird as I swam. The week-long heat wave broke mid-swim and the clouds started collecting in a dark grey mass over the northwest edge of the pool.

The minute the 45-minute length swim was up, the rain started. It was pouring by the time I got home – lightning, thunder, the sky the colour of Orange Crush, the works. I still can't believe my luck – that the rain and thunder held off until I had gotten my swim in, but it did and it felt like confirmation that last year's rained out stretch is firmly in the past.



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