Thursday’s Awkward Swimming Experience.

In search for some cross-training to complement my running I decided to give swimming a shot.

Thursday morning I woke up, got suited and headed out the door to try my hand at swimming at the TJC  pool. I walked into the large indoor pool room and began to assess the situation. This pool is huge! Broken in half with 4 lanes on one side and open on the other with a diving board and shallow area.  The 4 lanes were occupied by swimmers that knew what they were doing with no one else in the pool. It almost felt comforting that this huge pool was so vacant.

I, like many others, am a bit intimidated by new adventures, especially if it means being half naked in front of strangers. It’s that “not really sure if I’m doing this right” feeling that I am uncomfortable with. Never-the-less I was set out to overcome and explore this activity. I love swimming so why not?

The water was warm enough to be a relief to the outside temps of about 40 degrees. Nice! I began to paddle around and get accustomed to those movements that I haven’t felt since last summer’s family vacation. Man this is cool I thought as I gently swam the distance to the deep end of the pool. Upon my return to the shallow end my attention was requested by the lifeguard.

“Sir,”she said “this side of the pool is for water aerobics. If you’re going to swim you need to get in a lane.”

Confused and bewildered I looked around to see no one besides myself in the “water aerobics” side of the pool and 4 people in the 4 lanes used for laps.

“Huh?” I thought out-loud.

“If you want to swim you’ll have to share a lane with someone.” The lifeguard continued.

I couldn’t help but add a smirk and chuckle to the conversation as I began to think of how to process this information. Already intimidated by the new adventure to get up and go swim, now I have been thrown into a new challenge of “sharing a lane with someone”. I don’t even know what this looks like. Do we take turns? Do I have to talk to this guy and plan out a strategy? “You’re it!” What? So with no confidence at all I swim under the lane dividing ropes and enter the “swimming zone”.

I know how to swim. I spent many summer hours in a pool since I was young but not olympic style stroke swimming like I’ve seen Michael Phelps doing on TV or the guy I’m now sharing a lane with is doing. You know, the kind of lap swimming that the swimmer has perfect hand over hand form. My new lane buddy doesn’t even seem to take breaths and effortlessly does that underwater-flip-and-push-off-thing at the ends of the pool to maintain his vigorous pace. Fantastic.

Psychologically defeated, I begin to do my varied form of a dog paddle to the end of the pool and back, mindful of my new lane partner. Most of the time I was concerned I’d bump into him and throw off his workout. That was the last thing I was wanting for sure! I continued this timid and graceless swimming style for about 30 minutes before I’d had enough of this claustrophobic embarrassment. Out of the water to my paper thin towel in attempt to sop up a bit of wetness, I look over to the “water aerobics” side of the massive pool (which I was violently expelled from) to see 1 person bobbing around in one of it’s corners. 1 person! Maybe next time, I’ll give water aerobics a try.

Wow. What an awkward experience. I couldn’t help but think of this skit from Saturday Night Live. An awkward experience indeed!

{click to view this skit}