I have comical memories of the swimming pool in my home town in the north. It always seemed like the last thing anyone was able to do there was swim. Sessions for pure unadulterated swimming were pushed to the edge of every timetable, marginalised to the odd 45 minute session, scattered here and there throughout the week.
Even then it was only the most prudent and organised that got the full 45 minutes. They were the ones there early enough to get to the front of the queue, a queue that was out of the door by the time the clock struck to signal the start of the mighty lane swimming session. Standing, sometimes, with just a rolled up towel under their arm; not wanting to waste valuable seconds handling sports bags or lockers, the expectant swimmers filed by reception in an orderly manner, before speeding up to be the first in. This was it, the only time to swim.
But, The Swimmer isn’t one of those characters. Instead I was thinking about the poor wretched souls that just weren’t organised, or quick enough, to make these niche gems of swim time – like me.
More often than not, I’d turn up and take a chance. Representing, as I feel I do, the fair weather swimmer, who just has a simple enjoyment of swimming, I’m likely to get in the way of ‘laners’. I try, but there it is. I just like swimming. It is my preferred form of exercise. I find it clears the mind thrashing through a few lengths, each at their own pace, perhaps slowly improving – or perhaps not, but really just enjoying a swim.