Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Sea Turtle and the Dolphin

Everyone knows the tortoise and the hare.  Great little animals and their story translates so well for running tales.

What about swimming tales?  Then who are the characters?  The sea turtle and the dolphin?  Marlin and Dora?  Ariel and Flounder?  The shark and the guppy?

Well, whoever they are, I'll be the slow one.

Wednesday morning is a swimming morning so I dutifully woke up at 5:20am - ten minutes before the alarm goes off.  I think it's a guilt thing because I don't want Doug to have to wake up to CBC chatter when he could snag another hour of sleep.  So I wake up early, turn off the alarm and sneak out.

Anyway, I got up, did my thing and headed to the pool by 5:45.  Instead of the usual three cars, there were more like ten.  Plus a slew of tired looking parents dropping off tired looking kids.  Swim team practices on Wednesdays too apparently.

By the time I got to the pool, all three lanes reserved for lengths had three swimmers in them.  I must have looked a bit panicked because a nice looking gentleman said that I could join them in their lane.

Four swimmers in one lane?  Perhaps I should have read the book on swimming etiquette...

He quickly explained that they were swimming in circles so I could just join the circuit.  Swim up on the right side and back down on the left.  Repeat until just before drowning.

So I joined the back of the line.  There was no time for a few lengths of breast stroke.  These folks were fast!

We'll call them the dolphins.

I quickly realized that just because I can swim faster than the elderly ladies in lane three doesn't mean I'm fast.  So let's call me the sea turtle.  Here's how it went. I would start at the back of the pack, swim up one side and back down the other.  By that point, the lead swimmer had almost caught up to me so I'd stop, let the three of them pass me and join the back again.  Up one side, down the other, get passed by all three swimmers and repeat.

We repeated this twenty times folks.  I swam my little heart out and did forty lengths (one kilometre again). And I was passed twenty times.

Good news is that being with such fast swimmers pushed me to keep my ass moving so I knocked five minutes off my world record time of 35 minutes from Monday.

The great thing that I discovered is that swimmers are just as nice as runners.  You can't talk as much because underwater chatter doesn't work well but, once the swim is done, people hang out at the edge of the lane for a bit.  So I chatted with the guy who let me share the lane.  He did fifty lengths during my forty.  I was mightily impressed.  He was equally impressed when he found out that I had only been swimming for two weeks and could swim forty.  Apparently he couldn't swim across the pool when he started.  Just like running I guess. Everyone starts somewhere and builds up from there.

And we all cheer each other on.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't swimming fun?

    I've never done the circle swimming thing, mostly because my pool only makes one separate lane. We just swim up one side of the black lane line, turn around, and swim back down the same side. Occasionally the lack of lanes makes for some excitement, but it's good practice for the craziness of triathlon.

    There are so many fast people at my pool. I'm a nearer-to-the-front-of-the-pack swimmer, but the fast ones just totally amaze me. Take, for example, the woman one lane over from me yesterday. She swam almost two laps for each of my own, and her butterfly is faster than my freestyle. (It's all technique, I think.) Having fast people around definitely makes me want to swim faster.

    And not that I don't love your tortoise/hare analogy--because I do--but when we went snorkeling in Australia we saw sea turtles, and they swim really fast. Gotta show love for the sea turtles. :^)