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What Are You Training For?

Escaping Busy Pools, Buzzing Changing Rooms, Wetsuits and Camaraderie

Swimming is more popular than ever before. As a swimming teacher and seller of goggles, this is good for me.  

But when I go for a swim I want a bit of peace and quiet. Sometimes there are too many people making waves in the water and discussing ‘events’ in the changing room. (“What are you training for?”…)

It’s difficult just to do your own thing, swim your own swim, in the chop and wake of people with a different goal.

This is my idea of a good swim:

– Unchlorinated water, cool, calm, clear and undisturbed.

– Me, on my own, approaching without fear or noise.

– Submerging softly and quietly.

– Gliding without making waves, slowly but with direction, light arms, loose feet.

– Support from the water, release and expansion in me.

– No gasping.

– Solitude.

For me, quality time in the water is a pleasure like nothing else. I don’t get it down the local pool on a Friday night, unless I’m the only one in there and even then, there’s too much chlorine. Last night I’d have preferred to have gone for a kebab.

I get it on holidays. That’s why I go on holiday. And I get it in open water. Just myself, sometimes with my dog, wife or friend, in an undiscovered swimming spot,  in the river, or out of a hidden cove. Not at organised events full of wetsuit wearing enthusiasts enjoying the camaraderie.

I also get it in my work, helping people to make friends with the water, to coordinate themselves better with it. Two people in the quiet, almost chlorine free water,  working together, working on ourselves.

At the leisure centre, there can be so much more than getting from one end of the pool to the other as many times as possible in one go. Unfortunately many of the people who are capable of getting most from being in water might be denying themselves the privilege.

Ultimately, it can’t be a race.

Even the haven of the Hotel Costa Calero in Lanzarote was full of triathletes, in February, preparing for the new season. When the lane pool was busy, I went to the unheated leisure pool, too cold for the Winter sun-bathers, and not rectangular enough for training. But just right for a square like me.

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