Just Add Water

Swimming used to be instant:

Just add water.

In many ways, it is still just that simple. Rivers, lakes, reservoirs, pools, you can find water almost anywhere. I mean, if that’s all that you are looking for. And you can swim in most bodies of water, depending on your definition of swim. Most places, I have found, you can actually swim some semblance of distance and get a proper workout in.

Sometimes, it requires a bit of extra effort.

So, while I am far and away from home in Northern California (and I mean Northern California), there are tons of options for swimming. I am right on Lake Shastina which only has a little bit of ice. Water! Hurrah! Let’s swim in it!

Once you decide to swim… well… then you have to sort the logistics. How can I do this and be safe? And that’s where the instant just-add-water of swimming begins to fade. Suddenly, you need a spotter. Then you need a warm up plan. Then you need… etc.

Meanwhile, I still need to maintain my distances. So I went in search of a pool. I found a salt water one! Water! Hurrah! Let’s swim in it!

But it was not a lap pool and it was 86 degrees and the only option for distance swimming was to lasso myself with an tether and swim in place. Hm…

I caught wind of a lap pool in the next town over. I found it! It had markers and a lane line! Just one. That was all it needed. HOORAY!

The two lane lap pool was never more beautiful to anybody! They had a sign up sheet because it was so small. They insisted I could only swim for an hour. I didn’t argue… not yet. I got in. I started to swim. There was no clock and so at first I didn’t notice that anything was off. When I broke out my stop watch, I realized that something was wrong. Either I was very fast or… the pool was short.

There was no placard telling me the length. I sighed at my screwed up times. I wondered how many Olympians this facility had birthed. Then I felt bad for being so judgmental. Don’t judge too harshly. After all, it does have a lane line! It’s trying!

On my way out, the guy at the front desk confirmed the pool was 20 yards, not 25 yards.

I got in the car and sighed. Did I really miss Masters? Really? And clocks? Really? Did I really miss numbers and counting and times and sendoffs and seconds and minutes and – dare I confess it – backstroke?!?! Really?

Am I a pool snob?

No, I determined. I’m not a snob. I just have measurements I am used to. I just have distances to swim and times to make and things to do. So now, I just need to adjust to meet my goals with the waters I am given.. That’s all. I can do that. I can be flexible.

Swimming is swimming is swimming.

Just add water

One thought on “Just Add Water

  • I freely admit to being a pool snob. I forgive the tiny pools at hotels for kids to splash and pee. Most frustrating are big hotel pools with non- parallel sides, or steps across one end. What were they thinking?

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