I am not to be pitied. In a swimming pool or anywhere else. Because when I strap on one swim fin, I can probably beat your young ass in a 25. Well, that’s probably only partly true. It is true that I can beat a few people and keep up with many and that I’m not the one that everyone has to ho-hum and heavy sigh at for going slow. And I can swim a long time without getting very tired although I can get bored and sometimes wonder if it’s possible to go to sleep while swimming. What does Diana Nyad do?
Swimming makes me feel 19. Graceful, buoyant, strong. So it irked me no end when last week at my Master’s Swim workout, I got the ‘you can’t seriously mean I have to share a lane with someone your age’ look from some twenty-something training for a triathlon who was oh, so worried she wouldn’t be able to see the timing clock so she could leave at the exact second to start her set like we were training for the fucking Olympics. She looked over and around me, encouraging me to puff like a blowfish just to fuck her up.
Roll your eyes at me, girlie. I have had the eye rolling treatment from champions (my daughters). I am numb to your eye rolling and your little mutter that you don’t think I can hear (I couldn’t actually but I could read her lips). Your little perfect pores exude aggravation that you will have to tolerate my aged, wrinkled self and my enormous swim fin. You should be so lucky to be 64 and swim so fine, little triathlon Susie.
I felt better after thinking all this. I felt like I needed to show Susie and the others in the lane that I could keep the pace. So I did for a few laps but then I convinced myself that my beautiful elegant stroke shouldn’t be disturbed by swimming in a pool of such disrespect. I decided to swim laps in the diving well, an enormous, deep and still pond at the end of the lap pool where a single teenage lifeguard sat on the diving board and watched me swim for a while and, I thought to myself, I bet he appreciates a beautiful stroke.
And then he got up and left me there alone to swim back and forth and think about being bored and maybe sleeping and loving being 19, if only in my head.