Seems that no matter what level of swimmer you are, the toughest part about our sport is simply getting in.
The weather was never something that attracted people to Ohio, where I grew up. No matter whether we were swimming outdoors in the summer or indoors in the winter, the thought of jumping into a cold pool never excited me. To this day, it still doesn’t.
My routine, developed over thousands of practices, is to stand with my back to the wall, as far away from the pool as possible, so I can get a short running start before diving as far out as possible. I then streamline to the bottom with a couple dolphin kicks and a breaststroke underwater pull. I then push off the bottom, take a single stroke to the other end, and do a flip. As I stand ready for the run, in my mind, I know that by the time I make that turn, it’s going to be OK. But the thought of the initial shock still makes me hesitate.
The older I get, the more I find meaningless conversations more and more interesting as I delay the inevitable. Football? Sure. Politics? Sure. Taxes? Sure. Avoiding COLD WATER? SURE!!!
As I stood there the other day, observing the get-in practices of others, I wondered what are some of the other routines people go through. I can’t be the only swimmer who likes to delay that chilly impact. Here are just a few observations from a single masters practice.
The first is what I like to call, The Leap of Faith. While still not totally trusting of the water, which you can tell because this swimmer isn’t going all the way under just yet, once the leap has started, there’s no turning back. You can stay high above the water to avoid the plunge for as long as possible, but there’s still no way out.
Every once in a while a younger swimmer will grace the masters with his presence. These kids almost DARE the water to mess with them. They approach the entry with no fear and, like the swimmer above, they leap with reckless abandon toward the water. The big difference is the defiance the youth shows as he goes totally submerged. I call this type of entry, Those Darn Kids.
Teamwork is very important, even in individual sports like swimming. The Strength in Numbers entry is a partner type of entry in which members hold on to each other for support and/or for dear life, depending on the temperature of the water. These two swimmers have decided to approach their entry with disbelief, and a kind of "I don’t really want to know what’s coming" attitude. Also, by referring to the first two entries, can you tell which swimmer is a bit older and wiser?
Finally, the last entry for this brief examination is… The Eddie Haskell. This entry if for the type of person (like me as it turns out), who will feign interest in just about anything to avoid the final getting in. The only difference is that this swimmer enters in what I consider to be the most torturous way… the slide. Slowly lowering yourself into the bitter water, allowing it to creep up your skin inch by painful inch. JUST GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY!
Obviously, we didn’t get anywhere near covering all the various types of entries, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say… at least for me, the toughest part about this sport is… Getting In! 🙂
Let us know how you get in by posting.
Thanks to our friends at TCY Masters for all the demos.