Last week marked one whole month since The Great Pool Panic. As has become my habit, on Wednesday morning I jumped into the pool for the first of my two swim sessions for the week.
I started by practicing my usual strong exhalation techniques and sinking to the bottom of the pool, but in a break from tradition, last Wednesday I decided to skip the breast stroke. I’d been starting every swimming practice with a few lengths of breast stroke, but frankly I was fed up with it. I likened it to borrowing the scooter off the kid next door, going for a scoot and calling it bike training. So I grabbed my little leg float, wedged it between my thighs and set off freestylin’ it without a care whether I was crap or drowned.
And I made it to the other end.
I stopped, looked around. Yes, I was definitely at the opposite end to where I had started. I hadn’t blacked out. I wasn’t floating above the pool looking down on a lifeless corpse. I’d done it, without a struggle, without a fight, without intense desperation. I ducked my head under the water, and swam back the way I’d come.
I stopped each time I reached the end, mainly to do a small underwater curtsy, smile and accept the thunderous applause that was ringing in my ears. Then I swam again. I did 12 lengths! Not exactly non-stop, but just with small stops at each 50-metre mark. Prior to this, the most I’d managed was one single solitary length.
It’s possible I dreamt it, but I think for a split second on about length 5 I had a feeling of enjoyment, comfort, relaxation. It was gone before I could grab hold of it and lock it into my heart to keep prisoner forever, but I am pretty sure it was there. It’s like I’ve seen a unicorn – I think I have evidence that one day I might actually enjoy swimming.
I swallowed approximately 734 litres of water, but I have learned that this is simply part of swimming and you have to try not to care. Accept the water, swallow it, try not to be sick at the thought of that same water swirling around the private parts of the old dude in the lane next to you, carry on.
With my confidence boosted, I discarded my little leg float next to my pile of clothes and decided to try incorporating a kick too. I did 3 lengths! The 4th length got too much and I only made it half way before I was electrocuted like the old days and I had to hold on to the rope and float on my back to recuperate. But 3 lengths is officially half way to where I need to be for February. I gave myself half a gold star.
I finished my session with my new bestie, my little leg float. I have named her Felicity the Float. We did 4 more lengths together (that’s a total of 19 whole lengths!!) before it was time for me to go and we skipped out of the pool with a new-found confidence and energy level. In your face triathlon – we will show you who is boss!