#6 – Not Michael Phelps

I got a surprise today at the pool – Seniors Discount! I saved $14 on my 10-punch pass card. If that’s one of the perks of turning 60, I like it.

I must admit, I was nervous getting in the pool and swimming 60 lengths on my own. Who was going to keep track of the lengths? I usually swim with a friend and we share that task, pushing ourselves and keeping each other on track. She couldn’t make it today.

The swim lanes were not busy. I steered myself to my regular spot. I had the lane to myself. As usual, the initial plunge was freezing! The first 10 lengths are always an adjustment; 4 to 6 lengths before I settle into the side to side breathing, the metallic taste from my fillings and the pool water, keeping track of the counting.


I count my lengths in groups of 10, starting over again at 1 but jumping to 20, 30 etc. The counting is so boring, almost discouraging. I have this voice in my head constantly talking to me. How many was that, 4, 5? I can’t really think of other things while swimming but I am conscious of my stroke; elbows up and out, hands not crossing in front of my stroke, initiating the kick from the hips, rolling to each side.

When I hit 30, I was half way there. Downhill after that if you work the pyramid approach. I noticed the black lines in the bottom of the pool more than usual. Played a game of keeping on one side going up and the other side coming down. At 40 lengths, I felt strong. My stroke was pushing me through the water like Pacific White-Sided Dolphins gliding. Ok, that’s a bit much.

The last 10 lengths, I got excited and I was sweating by now. The multi-color triangle flags seemed to be coming sooner indicating I had 2 strokes before hitting the wall and turning. I don’t exercise the fancy turns, too much water up my nose. I do the one hand touch and double foot push. Next thing I knew, I was done. I was pleased, satisfied with my swim, feeling good.

Swimming goes back to my university days when I was on the UNB varsity team. I loved the training, the camaraderie but not the events. I would freeze on the starting block. Hearing the gun go off, my legs would give out. It was like swimming with a piano tied to my butt. I couldn’t stay in the middle of the lane on my backstroke, obviously one arm stronger than the other. I never mastered the butterfly stroke with its dolphin kick. (Who thinks of these names, butterfly and dolphin in the same stroke? WTF!) I don’t know how I stayed on the team. I considered synchronized swimming but then again I couldn’t hold my breath that long.



13 thoughts on “#6 – Not Michael Phelps

  1. I don’t know if you like the mental challenge of keeping track of laps but I use a tally counter to keep track when I swim. I put it on one end of the pool and click each time. It takes me 66 laps in my pool to swim a mile. I have to hand it to you, I’d lose count after 8. Enjoy 60!!!


    • I was told in our 25 meter pool, you need to swim 64 lengths for a mile. I wish I knew that before I started, but 60 is a good number. And yes it is a mental challenge to count laps. Did you know that Michael Phelps in his training, would swim 50 miles a week! That’s why I am nothing like him, but have always admired his swimming and followed his success.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well Charline, I can’t add to your accomplishment, other than to say that you did well to keep going and get your 60 laps in! Like Memere would say: ” Ban-la! Pour te fatigue!!”

    All I can do is one lap of the dog paddle in my pool!! I am not a swimmer, but I do enjoy the water!

    Love, your oldest seester!! XX OO


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