Back in the Pool. 


I’m back in the pool again. As much as I’ve maligned pool-swimming versus swimming in San Francisco Bay, I’m back in the pool again. The non-stop rain storms have left me no choice. Though given my recent, ehm, performances in said pool, my privileges may soon be revoked. 

My crawl feels smooth as silk–totally efficient–in swirling seas. In a placid, rectangular pool, I find myself attracting unwelcome attention from the teenaged lifeguards. To them, it may well appear that I am in the throes of a Grand mal seizure. And that’s my pool-based freestyle. My other strokes — at least the ones I’ve thusfar mustered the courage to trot out — prompt the guards to post themselves up resting their arms on the emergency defibrillator boxes. 

Take the breaststroke. This is simply not done in the Bay. It would trigger immediate and merciless mocking from my swim buddies. Shoot, if one of my swim buddies dared a few breaststroke pulls on my watch, I would light into them like a rabid dog. Their only plausible excuse would be that they are deeply hypothermic, unable to perform basic arithmetic in their heads, and simply warming their brains for a stroke or two before resuming the cold water torture. 

So needless to say, my breaststroke leaves something to be desired. Nevertheless, foolishly, I decided I’d break it out the other morning while following an old Masters swim workout I spied on the pool deck’s whiteboard. I have to admit, my push off the deep end wall felt pretty damned good. My mind flashed to images of Olympic breaststrokers. I lost track of time. And depth. And my lane. And thus committed an egregious breach of lap swimming etiquette. 

When I finally broke from my absolutely gorgeous streamlined position — because I was flat out of air and close to passing out — I smacked the top of my head on the underside of the lane line buoys. And came goggles-to-goggles with a startled woman minding her own business in her own lane. In her lane. Not my lane. I had less than zero business diverting into her lane. And I can’t fathom how I would have responded had the roles been reversed. 

So what did I do? I sprinted to the other end (freestyle, of course) and tried to pretend nothing happened. I glanced nervously around the pool expecting to be lifeguard-whistled at. To have one of those red Baywatch life preservers hurled in my direction. To bear the brunt of well-deserved obscenities screamed by the offended swimmer at the pool’s opposite end. 

Instead, nothing. No comeuppance of any kind. 

Still, when I head to the same pool 24 hours hence, believe me, I will be wearing a totally different color swim cap to hide my identity. May even get a full-body tattoo. And I damned sure won’t be breaking out my breaststroke again any time soon. 

Thanks for reading. 

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