By October 27, 2006

Little fish, little pond

Technical note before my entry: I’m almost to a metric mile! 58 lengths in 34:47 yesterday. 64 lengths next week!

Part of the joy of swimming in a gym pool instead of a “real” facility like the one I used to go to in NoVA is that they tend to be empty. Even when there’s someone in the pool with me, they are normally walking. On most days, I get to feel like the fastest man in the water.

Every once and awhile there will be challengers to my crown. Most often it’s a weight lifter who watches me from the adjacent whirlpool. They get in, swim 50 or 100m, and get out, exhausted. Sometimes I’ll get someone who either used to swim or is learning how to swim for a triathlon. They’re fun — they might be a little bit faster, or a little bit slower than I am, and so we get to race. It’s hard to let go of my competitive streak.

By and large, however, I share my pool time with either the elderly, or Asian ladies who smell of White Diamonds and make it hard to breathe. They might do the breaststroke, or the backstroke. Sometimes, very rarely, they’ll do the crawl, because it’s tougher. Regardless, I’m considerably faster than they are. At least they are swimming instead of walking back and forth when they should be in the laneless “open” pool instead.

My pool companion yesterday was an old man. No big deal, except he was using a snorkel. He was trudging along, at about a third of my speed. “Who swims with a snorkel in the pool?” I thought, as I lapped him time and again.

I finished a 200m circuit and was resting to do another set, when I noticed that he was only using his right arm. He didn’t seem to kick very much either, mostly from the right side. I watched him finish a 25, wondering if he was trying to train one side on each length down the pool. Nope, here he came, slowly but steadily, using only his right side. After watching him complete another 25, I decided that he was recovering from a stroke, or other form of paralysis. In an instant, I went from making fun of the guy who swam with a snorkel to feeling totally humbled. This guy kept swimming, his left arm hanging motionless beneath the water, lap after lap.

Congratulations, Mr. Snorkel, you’re the top dog of the day. And I’m just a little fish in a little pond.

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1 Comment on "Little fish, little pond"

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  1. Bond says:

    Awesome story. Reminds me of the stories about President Franklin Roosevelt.