Monday, May 22, 2006


I really like to swim, but I suck at it. I wish I was really good at swimming - like Olympic level. I see so many good swimmers at the pool at my gym and they look so effortless. I do a decent freestyle stroke, but butterfly, breast stroke and backstroke are outside of my repertoire. Actually, I never understood the backstroke. I always thought it was kind of pointless. Why would you ever swim backwards? And the backstroke is kind of hard on your shoulder sockets and rotator cuffs.

So I was thoroughly impressed with this 7 year old swimming 1.4 miles from Alcatraz to San Francisco. I don't even remember what I was doing when I was seven except playing with GI Joe and watching Saturday morning cartoons. I didn't get to watch cartoons on weekdays because my parents thought cable TV was the path towards Idiots R Us State University.

I remember the first time I ever swam an Olympic length pool. I was in Hamburg, Germany at the time on vacation. My hotel had a pool, but it was really small, and I wanted to swim in something longer. The concierge directed me to the Alster-Schwimmhalle. When I got there and saw the 50 meter pool, I looked and thought "Oh that looks easy. I can swim that back and forth 10 times. No problem." I jumped in and started swimming. It felt good to be in a real pool. But about half-way across during my first lap, I could feel my upper body sinking a bit. Pretty soon, I was thinking "Hmm, this is actually kind of tough." By about 3/4 of the way across my first lap, I thought I was gonna drown.

That seven year old would have laughed at me.


teahouse said...

I'm pretty impressed. You must have nice pecs. I can't swim at all!

Kristy said...

Oh my gosh. Remember how Ellen used to do synchronized swimming? I used to think it was fluff, but then one day I went with her to a pool to work out with her. At the time, I was in decent shape. We swam at Farmington, which I don't think is an Olympic-sized pool, but it's a good size. She said we had to do 8 laps (lap=once up and back). I thought, hey - easy. I went out with all my energy and swam 3/4 of a lap and thought I would die. She used to swim a mile a day, AT LEAST. Sick. Then she had me tread water only using my hands (seriously, no legs or arm movements, just figure 8s with your palms) and I definitely failed that test.

Point of the story? Synchronized swimming is no joke, folks. And swimming is such great exercise - I wish I could do it better or for longer. Totally works out your whole body. And it's arthritis-friendly.

Anonymous said...

From Jayne: I am no good at swimming - I can stay afloat if need be and pretend to have a crawl, but it is not really a crawl. The last time I tried to swim in the pool at the gym they did not have the lane dividers up and I swam into a guy swimming in the next lane - not good! I admire people who can do it, I have a friend who meditates while she swims, but it is not for me.