First Swim of the Summer

When COVID began, our local pool closed. Then, when it was OK to re-open it, it was under renovation. I’m sure it’ll be lovely when it’s all done, but it means our town has no pool – for pretty well all of summer.

But tonight, being on the opposite side of the continent, and staying at my sister’s place, I had a swim!

I’d almost forgotten how marvellous it is to glide through the water, feeling cool and weightless.

Years ago, I swam competitively. Lap after lap, up and down, following that black line. I was a decent swimmer, but certainly no world beater. Years later, I swam with our kids when they joined the local swimming club, getting back into following that black line and swimming kilometre after kilometre in a session. I even competed on club nights, and swam as a master for a short time.

But it must be a year since I last swam.

And it was so nice. The water was just the right temperature, and it was still hot outside.

I’ve missed that feeling of weightlessness. I’ve missed twitching a hand and changing direction. I’ve missed being able to float, give a brief kick, and move exactly how I want to.

One of the legacies of all of those laps and hours spent in the pool as a child and young adult is an innate familiarity with how to move in the water. There’s no effort to it it, and no need to fight with the water. I’m so grateful for all of those years in pools and lakes and the ocean. It’s like coming home in some ways, and it’s incredibly relaxing.

I even wondered if it might make swimmers better astronauts, (ie. better at weightlessness) but then realised that as a swimmer I’m accustomed to using the water to propel myself. I push against it with various bits of my body – hands, legs, feet, fingertips, and even use my body to bend, twist and rotate. I suspect in no gravity, I’d end up flapping and flailing. Who knows? I’m unlikely to get the chance to try. But you never know.

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