April 24th, 2018 by Jan

One thing I like most about swimming is the true meditative quality it offers.

Wearing the full face snorkel gives me a certain amount of anonymity. Talking to others is hard. Plus by wearing it, it looks like I’m at the pool for business and not socializing.

I get in the pool and swim, I talk only to myself. Okay, when I leave, I say- Good-bye to Andrew, the guy who works the front desk.

I’m still not a great swimmer, but it is becoming more enjoyable, or should I say more satisfying.

When I get out of the pool, I am usually bone tired and I realize, I really love that feeling.

I recover from the swim fairly quickly, as far as getting my heart rate back to normal, this bone tiredness is different. It takes me some time to get moving again. When I finish swimming, I am wasted and totally pooped out. Jenny said, I’m building endurance.

I started swimming in January. So far, I’ve been consistent in showing up three times each week.

I find when I first get in the pool, I spend a lot of mental energy worried that someone else will get in “my” lane. It’s silly. I scold myself for wasting the time I am alone. I don’t like sharing, but usually have to at some point in the swim. I only stop worrying it might happen, when it finally happens. Then… I settle in.

Ken helped me solve my stress of swimming with others. He gave me the advice that boating people us.

Stay your speed and course!

There are times, I liken lap swimming to driving a car, on a highway. Some folks want to pass and change lanes at every chance, they speed up or slow down, willy-nilly. Some people tailgate, and of course there are the super slow pokes, who still won’t let you around, and you just want to honk at them.

Now, while I’m not the slowest swimmer out there, I do fall into the slow poke category. I may be slow, but I’m steady — no one needs to honk!

Sharing a lane is easy when everyone stays on course, and maintains whatever speed they are going. I now know how to pass a fellow swimmer, just as I know what to do when being passed. Being consistent is key.

The meditative quality of swimming, is a bit of a by-product of the sport and not one I was looking for. Having awareness of breath, counting lengths, (which is not as easy as it sounds) and staying as relaxed as possible with each stroke I take, takes me deep inside myself.

The full face snorkel is a bit of an echo chamber — I hear every sound I make. My breath is loud.

With Tai Chi, I was encouraged to have a more of a soundless breath. Specific breath practices aside, hearing ones own breath was rare. Except, of course when Jim, Art or Ed had me in a crunch, then everyone could hear my gasps.

With swimming, I make a lot of noise with my breath. I don’t hear or listen to much of anything else. I’m glad I keep my head down and covered, so outside sounds are muffled. I am left to listen to myself. I don’t hear the music, conversations, or screaming children that are also at the pool.

Counting lengths keeps me on track and present too. I say a number to myself, at the end of every 25 metres. Sometimes I lose count, so I alwasy swim two extra lengths, just for good measure.

I’m now able to swim 66 lengths on a regular basis. I set the bar low for 40, and feel like a super hero when I surpass it. Sixty-six lengths is a mile at our pool — my best time is 57 minutes.

Swimming is still weird for me. I carry “pool baggage” being a Hudson after all. Yet, I am starting to like it.

There have been some interesting adventures so far. Like sneezing with the snorkel on, or the time I got a nose bleed and didn’t realize my face was covered with blood until I took a break. (Don’t worry, I didn’t contaminate the pool)

When I swim, I always give a mental nod to friends that I know are regular swimmers as well.

They all give me good advice and encouragement. So, here’s a quick shout out to Jess, Angelo, Marsha, and of course Jenny, who I report to on a regular basis, and proudly call coach.

Swimming pushes me. It’s not technically an internal art, but… yeah, never mind… it totally is.

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