I stood with my face against the glass, watching the swimmers glide through the pool. My son and I had just dried off and gotten dressed after his parent-child swim class at our local YMCA’s pool, and were enjoying the “show”—the other swimmers doing their thing—from the lobby. My son pointed to a man with a kickboard and fins, then looked at me, asking without words: What is he doing, anyway?
“That guy is kicking, and making big splashes with his legs, just like you do!” I said. I pointed to the man’s lane partner. “And that woman is doing breaststroke.” I lowered my voice and gave my son, 2, a conspiratorial look. “She’s really dropping her elbows. I have a drill that could help her.”
Then, my eyes wandered to a young woman, likely a college swimmer home for the summer, gliding along with a perfect freestyle stroke. She approached the wall, executing a snappy, quick flip turn. And just like that, I could feel it: The smooth, silky sensation of my hand entering the water; the feeling of progress and renewal after every turn. I wanted to be in the pool, chasing her heels. I thought about how I could maybe drag myself out of bed to join the master’s group one morning, or how I could join my local tri club at its open-water swim practices Thursday nights. In other words, I got the itch.
As I’ve discussed on this blog many times, swimming comes and goes from my life. Often, it comes when I’m injured and unable to run, and goes when life gets hectic. And the past few years have been nothing if not hectic. Who has the energy to haul oneself out of bed at 5 a.m. for an hour-long workout that absolutely requires a shower afterwards when you’ve got a newborn, or a toddler going through a sleep regression?
When we got home, I went into my closet and dug out my cap and goggles. I have not actually taken them (and myself) to the pool, but I’m one step closer to doing so.
I look forward to the day that my son can watch me from the pool deck, and say: “Mama’s really overreaching on her entry. I have a drill that could help her.”