Friday, March 4, 2011

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End of the Pool

I mentioned before that it’s been many, many years since I’ve belonged to a gym, but I don’t think I told you that I’ve never (as in never, EVER) been in a gym lap pool before.  In fact, I can probably count the number of times I’ve ever been in a public pool in my lifetime on one hand.  I’m not really a swim-in-front-of-other-people sort of girl.  Until now, of course, what with me getting my booty to the pool four days a week for the last five weeks.

So, I was sort of unprepared for the…oh, let’s call them “interesting”… folks who hang out at my gym pool:

There’s the guy who appears to be sleeping on one of the benches every time I’m there.

Or the guy who swims just two laps every morning.  One freestyle, one backstroke and then he’s out of the pool.  That hardly seems worth putting on a swimsuit.

There are the two old ladies – Fat Old Lady and Skinny Old Lady – who outlast me in the pool every time I see them. (And before you yell at me for their monikers, let me explain that they appear to be the same age, they have the same color swimsuit, the same sort of goggles and they both wear Crocs in the pool.  How else can I tell them apart??)  Man, those old girls put in some serious lane time.  I’ve never seen them out of the water.

Crocodile Lady wears a floatation belt and skims through the pool with just her nose and eyes above water.  Does that really count as exercise?

Slappy Man probably weighs in the neighborhood of 400 pounds and swims with a T-shirt and shorts on.  He swims even slower than me and his left hand glides into the water nicely, but his right hand hits the pool like he’s swatting a fly.  *whap*……..…*whap*………..*whap*  It’s like the world’s slowest helicopter.

There’s the guy who looks really fit but spends 90% of his pool time standing at the end of his lane and fiddling with his goggles.  He’ll swim a lap really fast (usually starting at the exact same time I’m starting a lap in the lane next to him – I can’t tell if he’s being competitive or what.  Congratulations, dude, you beat the slow girl!), stand around for four or five minutes, then swim another lap really fast…then stand around…  He probably only swims about 100 yards total, but he’s in the pool for 20 minutes or more.

The Bouncing Betties are two really big girls who do a combination walking/bouncing/swimming-with-the-floaty-dumbbells thing.  I end up sharing a lane with one or the other of them quite a lot and they’re both pretty friendly.

Where I’m going with the mental picture I’m painting for you is that on any given day I am significantly younger and waaaaaaaaaaaay faster than almost anybody else in the pool.  Yep, I just said I’m faster than other swimmers.  And since I average a high two minutes per hundred pace, it’s fair to imagine that everybody else is pretty much standing still in the water.

All that changed today.  It was busy this morning at the pool – all of us 5 AMers were there at once, so it was Lane Sharing City.  I started off with one of the Bouncing Betties, but she left me when I was a little over halfway done.  I swam a few more laps and then noticed a kid (it’s true – I’m so old that anybody in their 20s is now referred to as a “kid”) sort of hanging out on one of the benches.  He was obviously waiting for a lane, but too polite to just bust in on someone, so I told him I was almost done and he could share with me.  I was at the other end of the lane by the time he got his goggles on and got in the water, so we started from opposite ends at just about the same time.

Holy crap, I kid you not, I was maybe three strokes into my lap when he swam past me.  All I could think was, “Jon???  Is that you??”  This kid was FLYING through the water!  I’ve never had an underwater view of a fast swimmer like that, and I just couldn’t help but admire his form (and totally not in a Mary Kay Latourneau way!)  His feet kicked like hummingbird wings, his hips were rotating like a fricken corkscrew, and his pull was just a thing of beauty.  I was more than a little embarrassed at what he must have been thinking about my huge, splashing, lumbering pass through the water.  *sigh*

No matter.  I finished up with a pretty decent time (for me) and 5000 “mards” for the week, so I’m feeling mighty happy.  On tap for the weekend is an OUTSIDE bike ride – yay! – and hopefully another good mile on my feet.  Good stuff, my friends.

Happy Friday!


Rose said...

When I was training for my tri I was using about three different public pools, depending on when I could go, and MAN, the people were weird. Half of them were super nice, but the other half were total a-holes. And I was the slowest person, pretty much always (but, I'm really, really slow).

Laurie said...

You crack me up! I've spent most of my life at the pool... swim team, swim lesson, lifeguarding, lap swim, hanging out with my kids you name it and you're 100% correct swimmers are about as odd as they come. :) Love your descriptions... great mental picture painted! Have a great weekend!

Rose said...

I made the bicep/head picture after I watched my trainer's head shrink as he raised his arm. His biceps are so big they made his head look tiny. I told him his bicep had to be as big as his head, but he didn't believe me until I made that picture.

Jonathan Rohr said...

You'll have many adventures at the gym lap pool.

The lap pool at my college made for a few good laughs too. Mostly, people would just jump in and stand at the shallow end socializing, occasionally throwing in a lap.

The real entertainment came with the frat boys who would do a lap, jump out, do some push ups, admire their reflection in the windows.

Val said...

What a great post! Your descriptions gave me very vivid pictures of your pool compatriots:)

Jogging with Fiction said...

I LOVE this post! People at the gym are some crazy characters and I seriously never tire of hearing stories about them, especially since I don't belong to a gym anymore so I can't see them first hand. Also, why wear crocs IN the pool??

RockStarTri said...

You know I'm searching for that kid's blog to see how he describes you.

Amber said...

I loved this! I make similar observations while on the treadmill at the gym. Sounds like that one guys fits right in with the dudes that lift weights for two minutes and then watch the gym TVs for five minutes before moving on to lift more weights.

TutuRunner said...

wow. you can tell you've been spending LOTS of time at the pool. =) love it!

Alma said...

HAR! I see funny people in the pool too. Often (at the Y), the slow lane is taken up with the old hairy guy who just back floats (without kicking or moving his arms) and the aqua joggers who take up a lot of space but don't move much either. SO that means the slow and medium pace swimmers are squished into the medium lane. We get congested as we do our circle swim. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's frustrating. I'd LOVE to be in the same lane with someone who could really swim, though. I need to watch & learn. A lot. Like, a lifetime of swimming won't be enough. *sigh*
Hope you have good weather on your ride this weekend!

The Green Girl said...

You are too cute, girl.

Char said...

It's kids like that that keep you humble.

Michael said...

Interesting post. You pay alot of attention at the pool. I hate to share lanes, I'm just so slow when swimming I feel nervous - it sucks.

ratherthecouch said...

I'm 28.5. Does that mean I'm still a kid? That'd be great because I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.