Thoughts I Had While Swimming For the First Time in Years

My sister and brother-in-law gave me an air plant for Christmas, and it is delightful. They gave me three, actually, but two of them aren’t faring so well. The one I’ve named Nemo, though, reminds me of the giant squid at the end of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He looks like a deep sea diver trying to escape. It’s actually quite beautiful and active.

Despite the name, air plants are very aquatic in that you have to soak them twice a week for a couple of hours each time. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching all that floating, or maybe I’ve just been missing the pool for a long time, but I decided to get back into swimming this year. And, luckily, the Y not too far from my apartment just reopened after being remodeled. I bought a membership and went for the first time on the opening night of the pool. Here was my experience:


Lap 0: Ugh. There are people in the lap swim lane. They’re not lap-swimming. They’re just splashing around. That’s what the rest of the pool is for. This is the one lap-swim lane. Wait, this is the lap-swim lane, right?

Okay, the lifeguard asked them to move. That was nice.

Why aren’t they moving?

Okay, now they’re doing some kind of swim test or something? Seriously.

Okay okay. They moved.

Laps 1-2: This actually feels pretty good. Yes. Okay, I can do this.

Lap 3: I took it out way too fast. I want to stop. I really want to stop.

I probably shouldn’t stop, though, since I kicked that family out of the lane. But I don’t know if I can make it another 10 laps. One more and then a rest.

Lap 4: Is this lap over yet?

Rest. Okay. I can do a few more laps. I’ll do 10 50s on a minute and a half.

Lap 5: Make that 5 50s on a minute 45.

Laps 6-9: Okay. No! That wasn’t so bad. Ugh. I am so out of shape. Has the pool always been this long? Why are the people in the hot tub staring at me? Is there a hole in the butt of my suit? Why does it feel so weird? Seriously, it feels like there is a hole.

Whew. There isn’t a hole. Man, my technique is slipping. Get it together, Sarah. Reach through the water, tight arms, good glide. And kick, for goodness sake! What are you, dragging those legs? I should do a kick set after this.

Laps 10-14: I forgot how much I don’t actually kick when I swim. My legs are really sore. My arms are pretty sore, too. I should probably stretch. Sure, old dude, you can swim in my lane. I’m going to lap you, though.

Okay, calm down, Hot Shot, you haven’t swum in years. He might be fast…

Or not. So just give him a pool-length lead. Oh good, he moved. Yes, this is not the sidestroke lane. Hey, people, please stop swimming sideways through my lane. So, if I did my math right, I’ll be at 700 yards after this. So a sprint 100, then a 200 cool down should be good.

Laps 15-16: Not exactly sprinting, Sarah, but I guess that’s all you can muster. You should do free-back-breast-free for a cool down. Last free more of a glide.

Lap 17: this is pretty close to what your sprint was.

Lap 18: There’s a reason I don’t swim backstroke. Especially without flags, yikes! What are you, out for a Sunday stroll? Okay, I guess it is the cool down.

Lap 19: Oh yes, my first love: breaststroke. Still need to work on that technique, though. Not so loosey goosey. How do you do a turn again? Oh yeah.

Lap 20: You got this. Nice and easy. Stretch it out. My eyes are burning.

Whew. 1,000 yards. Not bad. Not great, but not bad. Little over half a mile, not quite 2/3. A long way from 20,000 Leagues, but I’ll take it.




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4 responses to “Thoughts I Had While Swimming For the First Time in Years”

  1. Michael Turner says :

    Swimming is such great exercise, but so hard. I did maybe 2 laps at the Y this past winter and I had to sit on the side of the pool for 5 minutes. Hard to remember to kick. For the free is it stroke-stroke-stroke-breathe, or just stroke-breathe-stroke-breathe? Will you watch some 2016 Olympic swimming? Is Phelps still in it?

    • Sarah in Small Doses says :

      Swimming is really good exercise but I get winded pretty easily now. No shame in taking a break. I have a hard time with kicking, too. You should try to breath on alternating sides (so stroke-stroke-breath on the third stroke, if that makes sense). It’s easier on your shoulders that way. I’m hoping to catch some of the 2016 Olympic swimming, but if it’s in the middle of the day that will be tough. Phelps is, apparently, still in it, even though he retired after the London Olympics in 2012. It’ll be interesting to see how he does, now that he’s in his 30s. Kudos to him! I couldn’t do it.

  2. Anthony R says :

    Come on, now. 20 laps on the first try is impressive. Keep it up!

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