As I was in London last night and this morning I asked Sally if I could join her. It’s always great to meet fellow swimmers and I tend not to swim when I come down to London, so I wanted to explore possible pools and get myself more into the habit of swimming down here. As part of Sally’s reason for doing this is social she enthusiastically said yes.
Then of course the realisation hit as Sally suggested meeting at Swiss Cottage at 7am, IN the pool. So that meant a trip across London first thing in the morning to find a pool I’d never been to before at a time when I’m not normally awake!
I set off in good time as I didn’t want to keep Sally waiting – I say good time, it was of course a ridiculously early time and there was very little good about it. But it did mean that I actually got to the pool a few minutes before 7am and had time to acquaint myself with the new surroundings, get changed and even do a few lengths before Sally arrived.
And then, exactly on time, Sally arrived. Swimmers are a funny breed and although we’ve never met before we had a good chat poolside before we set off to swim our respective miles.
The pool itself was wonderful, clean, cool and with eight busy lanes in use. As I got in there were club swimmers (adults and juniors) swimming in five of the lanes, so just three were left for lane swimmers. It made it busy, but even though the swimmers didn’t obey rule 3 very well it was hard not to get too annoyed as it was just great to see so many swimmers (I certainly tried to avoid breaking rule 5).
The only strange thing about it was that as the club swimming finished the lane swimming lanes were shifted, so from swimming in the medium lane initially (there was no fast lane set up) I was suddenly in the slow lane. Then a few minutes later they opened a fast lane, so I was able to move across there. If you knew to expect it it would have been fine, but seemed strange as an outsider.
In the end I managed 2.3kms – given the extra few lengths I managed before Sally arrived – and it was truly wonderful. I’ve not enjoyed a swim this much for a while, so I was trying to work out why this one was so good. I think it’s because:
– I swam – I often say that one of the best things about visiting friends for the weekend is that as you sit and relaxing, drinking tea and reading the papers, on the Sunday you can truly relax as there isn’t a pile of ironing staring at you and you don’t feel guilty about not hoovering. In some senses today’s swim was like that. I just went to swim. I didn’t go to train, to do a set, to hit a distance or time. I just went to swim. And swim is all I did (and chat).
– I swam well – not only that, but I swam well. I’m used to how I compare to the seven other people I normally share a lane with in my local pool (quicker than them, about the same as him, not as quick as the guy that gets in for a quick kilometre at 8:20am). Today I was with a new group of people and without racing anyone felt that I held my own in the fast lane.
– Breaking the monotony – I’m so used to my local pool that to go for a swim has become almost monotonous and (dare I say it) boring. Today I had to be fully awake and aware of my surroundings just to navigate my way from reception to the pool. It made me swim with my senses fully open and I loved it.
– Sally – it was great to meet Sally and a real honour to be allowed to take part in her personal challenge. After the swim we had breakfast and chatted and swapped swimming stories and I have now made another swimming friend.
A great start to the day – but I’m tired now after getting up so early.