Friday, October 21, 2005


Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, has been telling me that swimming would be the best exercise I could be doing for myself.

What does the physical therapist say will help strengthen the correct muscles groups ?:
What does the physiatrist say will help with swelling and circulation ?:
What does the acupuncturist say will keep my "Chi flowing" ?:
What will keep my hip socket open, avoiding contractures ?:
What’s the best aerobic workout I could create for myself ?:
What will help me develop core stability ?:

All roads lead to swimming. Alright people, I get it.
And I've finally made it to the pool.

I’ve been hemming & hawing about it for a long time, mainly because I know for a fact that I can talk myself out of a regular swim routine verrrrrry easily. Way too many excuses readily available.

“I don’t want to swim laps today because (insert) ….”
* Ewww, I don’t want to smell like chlorine.
* it’s cold outside and my head will be wet when I leave. I don’t want to get sick.
* I don’t have my things packed up.
* it's too far to drive. Too much traffic. Parking sucks.
* the sky is falling.

Add to this list the fact that I started checking out pool options just for kicks and giggles, and I could only find pools that were about 20 minutes away in morning traffic with no parking, and the rest were private clubs that were well out of my price range.

But guess what. I happened to be cruising around the other day and noticed a public pool in my neighborhood that I didn’t even know was there before. It’s actually on the campus of a high school, but it’s serving as the public pool while the old public pool building is being retrofitted (it’s been closed 4 years, and they just gained funding for construction…and guess what...there was a fire in part of the building two days ago). In other words, I've got awhile here at this pool to get a routine established.

Anyhow, this place is affordable at only $2.20 a swim (while the next closest pool is $5.50—yikes). It’s about 5 minutes away on city streets, there’s a huge parking lot, and the hours of the lap swim pretty much work for me. And it’s a really nice pool! I scoped the place out on Wednesday, then I went back today to buy a 30 visit pass and take my first swim.

Now, I used to swim competitively as a kid. But it’s been a looooong time. Like about 30 years, a long time (daaang, I'm gettin' old). Since I lost my leg, I have been in water and have paddled around, but this was my first real crack at actual laps. Aside from being out of shape and needing to catch my breath between passes, I did pretty darn good! I only did about 1/3 of a mile, but I think that’s a good start for a first day out. I found I drift out of my lane a little bit because having one leg makes me steer funny, but after awhile, I figured out how to use my arms or the cupping of my hands to compensate. I also used a fin on my sound leg.

One lady came over and asked me how long I’d been swimming, and when I told her it was my first day in years, she was impressed. As it turns out, she’s a retired swim teacher, and she used to teach a class for amputees and people with spinal cord injuries. She had some neat ideas about finding my center while floating and sculling in different positions. Then later on another lady came up to me and told me that I had a really strong backstroke, and that I must have been developing it for a long time…HA!

Anyhow. I guess swimming is like riding a bike.
Or in my case, like learning to ride a unicycle ;-)


Gray said...

How wonderful!

Double Yeah! It's great to see you posting again, and as a one-time swimming teacher I think that you are making a great move.


Anonymous said...

Why don't you learn how to unicycle? ;-)

(My sister could ride a unicycle with one leg, as a trick.)