Wednesday, January 16, 2008


This week I got back into the pool, again wondering why I stayed away so long. (I answered myself, too: "Because of the holidays!")

I have the pool almost to myself every day, usually sharing it only with a tiny, but powerful elderly woman who glides effortlessly and very slowly through the water. She seems completely comfortable and completely in her own world, and I envy her ease and her obvious commitment. I'm not there yet, though I certainly have been in the past, and I'm pretty sure that I'm headed there again.

When I was in grad school I'd sometimes skip class, choosing to swim instead. I'd like to say that I was that committed -- and eventually I was -- but truth be told, the gorgeous men on the Stanford swim team had a little something to do with it. You'd think that I'd have been above all that, having dated an Olympic swimmer in high school, but does one ever really get over the admiration of a whole gaggle of studly devoted young male swimmers?

But I digress.

I generally hate exercising, but for some reason, I adore swimming. Not only does it feel effortless to me -- very much UNlike any other form of exercise -- but I truly enjoy it. I like the feeling of my body gliding smoothly and almost effortlessly through the water, and of my mind gliding easily through whatever finds its way there. Yesterday I mentally made pot roast -- shopped for it, cooked it, and ate it. (Guess I was hungry!) The day before that, I got philosophical and decided as I swam that I'd be wise to approach life as I approach swimming: by enjoying the experience for its simplicity and beauty and to try not to be too hard on myself. Instead of beating myself up about my lack of accomplishments and for my failures, I'll chose to pat myself on the back for making the effort. Instead of insisting on speeding through the moves and winning the race, as I've tended to do in the past, I'll slow down and concentrate on my style and my form. It's about time.

I don't know what thoughts will find their way into my wet-head when I swim today; I only know that I'll swim today. And tomorrow.

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Blog Antagonist said...

Ohhhhh....I adore swimming. I think I must have been a porpoise or a mermaid in a previous life. You're right, it's so serene and grounding and not at all like exercise. I find it to be very Zen for me.

Would you believe there is no place to swim around here?? The pool at the YMCA is a joke, with only ONE lane for lap swimming. There is a beautiful aquatic center in a neighboring town, but it's in an area where traffic is a nightmare, and it would make the trip too long for me.

We have a neighborhood pool, but it's very small, and when it's open it's too crowded for lap swimming.

Gosh I wish there was someplace for me to go. You've made me long to get in the water again. said...

Swimming IS a great stress reliever, as you have described. The sensuous nature of the event, with water languidly flowing across the body also helps that. And......that feeling is better as fitness,skill and strength levels improve. Chasing a black line is an interesting view[and they are almost always black] and no-one can get to you except as you turn. You get into your own world.....a good description, Carol.
Now.....goal setting in the pool? When can we expect a sub-60sec 100m freestyle, or should that be 50m? Enjoy is a GREAT thing to be able to swim effectively. Many, many cannot.
My regular swimming is one of my great enjoyable things of life.

Jen said...

I used to absolutely love swimming, and still do, although I've needed the water to be very warm since the onslaught of whatever rheumatological thing has a hold on me. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Ooohh, I love to swim. That's the only time anymore that I don't feel like a big fat blob. Unfortunately, our local pool makes it almost impossible to get out of the deep end. They have a ladder on the shallow end, but you can't get to the deep end from there. And, since I only like to do lap swims, I'm out of luck.

Anonymous said...

Swimming is a wonderful gift to give yourself. I give it to myself daily. Keep it up, and you will be surprised at how good you feel and how slim you get!

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