Swimming with a Hangover

Drunken dreams of swimming and the water as a cure…

‘Beer-drinking’s not to be underestimated’, an old friend of mine said.

And sometimes a hangover, because it’s a process of accelerated recuperation, can feel quite good. Healing energy takes over. You’re going to be ok. You can start again.

Going for a swim can be a bit like that.

”The water looked as bright and clear as ever and, without pausing to think, I plunged straight in”….(On getting out)… ”I looked at myself for a long while, no more with shame now, with joy. Although not yet robust, I felt myself capable of becoming so – harmonious, sensuous, beautiful’. (Andre Gide, The Immoralist)

I’ve had some excellent dreams of swimming on those mornings when the day is leaving you behind and all you can do is sleep and wait. They’ve helped me recover.

Probably, the water that’s calling really is a glassful from the kitchen tap. But dreams aren’t usually so direct. So, when drunk, I’ve had some lucid swimming dreams. Smooth, light movement in clear, sunny water, a lane to myself. The illusion of effortless speed.

But occasionally equal to the dream experience is the real thing, a swim to cure a hangover.

On the first night of my recent trip to Lanzarote, I badly overdid it on the all-inclusive Jack Daniels….

I slept till midday but then I swam in that perfect, 50 metre cold water pool. There was no one else in it. 500 metres.

10 minutes earlier, I’d struggled to put one foot in front of the other. When I got out I was transformed.

It’s more than just exercise. It helps us.

‘The water is your friend. Treat it kindly and it will help you move.’ (Aleksander Popov)

It helps us rest, it helps us breathe and it helps us move.

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