This afternoon I felt like cutting loose, sneaking a crazy break from routine. I headed down to the 25m pool where I used to swim before I got addicted to 50m laps. I love this pool, it's featured in my life for the last 20 odd years so it has a cosy familiarity. All the signs were promising for a quiet swim - tumbleweed blowing through the car park, empty changing room and a dry floor - always such a luxury! When I walked out to the pool, sure enough, there were only two other swimmers and a lifeguard lounging on his umpire stool. Hurrah! A length or two of breaststroke, then I got straight down to crawl and it was fantastic. After 50metre lengths, 25m feels so neat and achievable, not at all intimidating anymore. Ten minutes later the other swimmers got out and the whole pool was mine, mine, mine!
Among wild swimmers, indoor pools often get bad press, there's a disdain for swimming in chlorinated boxes. I agree that swimming outdoors is something else, but I love the sparkling, turquoisey blueness of indoor pools, the predictable smells, the contained regularity and the comforting neatness of the tiles and the lines on the floor.
I worked hard, but 64 laps flew by today. I was so dosed up with endorphins by the time I left that I couldn't resist buying a new swimsuit which had caught my eye on the way in. It was half the price of my old favourite which is starting to stretch a bit, so as I'm spending so much time in the water of late, I thought - why not?
(There wasn't really any tumbleweed in the car park, that was poetic licence).