Swimming. Supposed to be one of the best forms of exercise available as the water totally supports your body. In an earlier post about kayaking I confided that I’m not really a fan of water sports, yet not only do I kayak, but I also swim twice a week! Odd really. Although I swim on my own terms… I prefer a lane all to myself if possible and I hate having water splashed over me, and please, please, please, under no circumstances ask me to go under water or put my face completely in it. Childhood trauma, but if I can follow these simple rules I can actually swim quite well and in my twice a week trips to the pool I typically complete between 54 and 60 25m lengths in about 45 minutes.

A, of course, swims like a fish. I think he was a water baby. He just gets in and swims, and swims, and swims until we get out again, doesn’t seem to matter if he swims weekly or once a year, he just has that natural ability. He even received his adult life saving award at the grand old age of 12!

We swim at our local High School pool, it’s an excellent facility, and as a good proportion of our taxes go into the school system it’s only right that we should use it. It’s open four evenings a week and Saturday too, and we can stay as long as we want for $2 a person, that’s about 1 pound in English money. It works out very well. Most of the time. Recently we’ve been joined in our pool by the Spartan Aquatic Club, a non-competitive swim club for children of all ages. At the far end, taking up about 4 lanes are the little kids, aged up to about 8. These are children who can already swim and they practice strokes, diving in and last night they started on racing turns. Then there’s the older children, they look about 12 – 14 and boy can these kids swim. Up and down they go, full on racing turns, diving in from the side, 5 or 6 kids in a lane powering up and down… front crawl, breast stroke, back stroke, butterfly. They’re in the water for an hour and a half of non stop practise and they’re usually in the lane next to me! By this time A and I have had to move into one lane, so I have to cope with A on my right swimming past me like I’m standing still, and this lot on my left churning up the pool until it resembles a rough sea and spraying me with enough water to sink a battle ship. I feel like a discarded bottle bobbing about in the ocean at times. It also explains why, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve fallen short of my 60 lengths goal. It’s much harder swimming like this. A says it will make me a better and stronger swimmer, no doubt he’s right, and I certainly don’t begrudge these children their swimming time. To be truthful I’m in awe of them, their dedication, their attitude, their speed. They never tire and make it look so effortless. But it’s humiliating. I mean, just how many times can you be overtaken by a 12 year old in one session????

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