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Chlorine Chronicle (Archive)

NMSC Oct/97 Newsletter

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Letter from the editor

We've all now experienced three to four weeks of the new NMSC year. The coaches insist that they've started the year slowly, letting us work up to speed so that we will realize our full potential sometime in the New Year. At least that's how I understand it. So, the question begs to be asked, are we having fun yet?

A few nights ago, the thought crossed my mind as I'm gasping down the last 15 metres of a 100m fly warm-up set, that perhaps this 'fun' is grueling work. My lungs are exploding, my legs are dead tired, and my arms feel like they will fall off if I have to lift them another time. 'Yeah right....,' I'm thinking, 'so much for last month's diatribe on how much I loved this stuff! What in God's name was I thinking? Why hadn't I swum through the summer? I could be watching Third Rock tonight.'

A thousand similar thoughts run through my mind as I finish the last lap and collapse in a pathetic, heaving heap at the end of the pool. The rest of my lane mates are chatting - light banter- someone chuckles. Meanwhile I'm thinking, 'Oh sure, look at what's her name smiling sympathetically (yet smugly!) at me; she's not even breathing hard. I hate when she does that! Quick! Got to get my heart rate down because that was just the warm-up. Breathe deep. The real work is yet to come.' Panting like a wild dog, I put my finger up to my jugular, feeling for my pounding heart rate.... ' there it is, look at the clock, counting..., '1,2,3,4 .......33. 33 beats in ten seconds?!? Look at the chart... 'Good grief! That's not even on the chart for my age! My heart! This can't be good for it'

"OK", Steve says, "Next set is 5 times 100 free. Ten seconds apart. Pace time's 2:00 minutes. Any questions? No? Good....go on red 60!".... and then he turns to me and says, "By the way, Alex, your fly stroke looks more like a wet moth after it's been run over by a lawn mower. Your kick is all wrong, you're still doing breast stroke kick, and your timing's all wrong. You gotta keep your head down. Try breathing every second stroke. Arch your back more, dive into the water and get a rhythm going. This is how you should do it."

"OK, Steve, yup, I've got it." Thinking to myself, 'I'll work on it in the bath tub. I gotta go. Gotta keep up with the group. Can't fall behind. DOH! Steve's still talking.'

I glance surreptitiously around to the water. Des Beckstead is pushing off the wall after his first 50. $/%#@!* he's already lapped me! (*expletive deleted)

Meanwhile, Steve is still showing me how the fly stroke is supposed to be done, kicking with one leg and sculling with his arms. He makes it look so easy; the timing; the stroke; the kicking - he's got it down pat. Of course - he's on the deck - and everyone knows that fly on the deck is easier than fly in the water! (The fact that he may know what he's talking about doesn't enter my mind at the time!)

"OK Steve, yup, I've got it." I mumble, sounding as inspired as I can.

I plunge into the water before he can say anything else and I'm off doing the first 100m free in 2:00. Trying to breathe bilaterally, looking at the clock every sixth stroke, trying not to drown - that would be real embarrassing. Give up on the bilateral breathing. Trying to catch up to what's her name ahead - establish a rhythm - stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, gasp, stroke, stroke, swallow water, choke, choke, breathe.... Falling behind even more. Trying to relax.. The only comfort I have is that I've got maybe a 20 second rest before I have to do my second 100 metres. Finally I'm finished the first 100 metres! Now for my rest. Stand up, gasping, look at the clock...NO!!!!! It's got to be wrong! I get only a 5 second respite and have to dive back in. Des is on my butt now, plowing hard. (Of course, he swims with zoomers!) My goggles are leaking, but I can't stop, Des is still right behind me. At the end of the pool, I have to let him pass. Now he's a full 75 metres in front of me. I'm thinking tthat I should have stayed home - that I shouldn't have had that second helping of lasagna for dinner. I barely finish the fourth 100 and Steve says, mercifully, 'If you're not done, stop anyway.' And then he proceeds to give us the next set - a 400m I.M. set with not enough rest and way too much fly! Oh yeah, I think to myself, I'm having fun. I'm having some fun and looking forward to the New Year when I will realize my full potential! Hope you are too!

Alex Golob

Note: This is pure fiction and names have been changed to protect the innocent!


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