I’ve spent a lot of time in the water. Mom can’t swim a stroke, so I had no choice as a kid. I would learn how to swim. So it was the freezing cold Chesapeake Bay and YMCA pools for Red Cross lessons every summer for many years. Can’t say it was my favorite thing to do, but Momma’s effort was worth the chattering teeth and encounters with nettles and blue crabs. I was comfortable with the water at a very young age.
After completing Advanced Lifesaving and Lifeguarding classes at Memphis State (I actually took them to fulfill the physical education requirements for my BS degree) I got a job lifeguarding at the fine aquatics facility there on the corner of Echles and Spotswood Streets across the railroad tracks from the main campus. There were two identical 50 meter pools with diving wells; one indoor and one outdoor. Turned into a year round student job for me. The only hitch was a sadistic aquatics director that required us to swim 10,000 meters a month to stay “qualified.” All that for a “sit in a stand and twirl your whistle four hours a day. When you weren’t sitting or manning the entrance gate, you were swimming.
Thus I became aware of the zen of the pool. It’s quite tranquil. No one to bother you. Life slows to soggy, 50 meter increments through which the troubles of the day are silenced by a bubbling metronome of overhead strokes and expelled breaths.
Recently, I obtained a iPod Shuffle that has been waterproofed by a company called Waterfi. It came with waterproof headphones. I can clip the Shuffle to my goggle straps and listen to tuneage while I swim. Now I mark my distances by album sides. This morning, in fact, I knocked out 2000 meters accompanied by both sides of Rush’s iconic 2112.