I just went for it! I approached the wall at full speed, tucked my head and did a flip before pushing off the wall and continuing. I’m pretty certain I haven’t done that since high school. Then, when I was more than half my current size and a third of my age, I didn’t smile giddily after I did a flip turn. This time, this small act from my youth changed my whole day.
Muscle memory is such an amazing thing. This time, it was the goggles that triggered it. I’ve been enjoying a daily water aerobics class for a few weeks. As I was getting in, I ran into a friend who was getting out. He’s been after me to try lap swimming for several years and he happened to have extra goggles in his bag. When the teacher called in sick, my class was canceled so instead, we just played in the water and the goggles came in handy.
Goggles have changed dramatically since the late 1900s. The ones I was gifted don’t leak. The glass lenses are incredibly clear (so much so that the underwater view of all the seniors in my water aerobics class may be forever burned in my brain). Even the strap, with a neoprene piece of fabric that covers my ponytail, is more comfortable. One thing that hasn’t changed about goggles is the freedom you feel when in the water.
With goggles on, I moved from the open swim area to the empty lanes and started swimming laps. It’s important here that I note that a lap is from one end of the pool to the other. When I say I swam laps, I think my total number was four so not far but enough to remind me about how much I like to swim. When I was on the swim team in 1983, my friend played Sting’s Synchronicity before practice, after practice and on every road trip so Every Breath You Take started playing in my head as I did my first lap. As I approached the wall, my flip turn was automatic.
The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory by Julie Checkoway is currently on my nightstand so as I swam, I thought about the story of swimming nearly a century ago.
I am thrilled that I’ve rediscovered water exercise. When I visited my doctor in December of 2019, she inspired me to move more and eat less. I’ve been working on both for 49 days now but I haven’t been as successful as I’d hoped. I’d hoped that an hour of daily movement would make a difference on the scale but a wise friend told me recently that you can’t out exercise a poor diet. Exercise does make me feel happier and more content so, even though I haven’t lost 100 pounds yet, I’ll continue with water aerobics and I’ll add some lap swimming too.