Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pool Stories 2 - The Big Show!

Monday saw our intrepid explorer (me!) travelling into another dimension - one of early morning hours and and inexplicably happy swimmers.

Wednesday involved different dimensions, decidedly larger ones.

Yes, that day would see me heading to the big show, the serious pool for serious swimmers, 50 metres of poker-face intensity, swim hard or go home - the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. This is where the serious swimmers go, I was a little nervous as I'd heard people could get impatient with slow pokes and I'm not the fastest swimmer out there (except at Percy Norman
Pool from 6:17-6:22 am).

The day started poorly and my original plans had to be put aside due to technical difficulties (i.e. hitting the snooze button too many times). The morning swim got shuffled to an afternoon swim, with grand plans to spin after.

When I arrived at 4:30 it was lap swimmers nirvana. There were four 50m lanes: slow, medium, medium (although presumably a faster medium) and fast. FOUR LANES! I'm sure I heard angels singing when I saw this.

I jumped in and it was glorious. Five or six folks in my lane, all a little slower than me but I timed my intervals to avoid them and it worked well.

Then lane four was closed and those folks pushed into my lane. No worries! They should all be ahead of me so no problems. A little tight for space but all good.

About 400m later I finished my length to the site of a "Lane Closed" sign. Now we had to shuffle into lane two, about 20 people doing 20 different paces. Suddenly it got annoying. Especially as I was doing a pyramid (100, 200, 300, 400, 300, 200, 100 - my fallback mainset when I have no real plan for a swim) and was about to do the longest sets.

I survived, and realized that after being afraid of cranky faster swimmers that that turned out to be me (I'm sure there's some new age-y conclusion I could reach about becoming what you fear). Instead of being annoyed, I mostly managed to treat is as training for crowded tri's and that I was adding mini-sprints every time I passed someone. At the end of the workout I was in a good mood and had not attempted to use any pool toys as a weapon, generally the sign of a good swim.

Various observations from my swim:

  • At masters I am a slower swimmer, in tri's I'm mediocre but in rec centre lap swims I am apparently a speedster. There is no glory to being the fast swimmer in a crowded lane, just a fair amount of frustration.
  • VAC is not home exclusively to elite, super-fast swimmers. Or at least they don't do the Wednesday afternoon lap swim.
  • The wall is my friend - compared to a 25m pool, when swimming 50 meters my stroke count was embarrassingly high while my 100m times slowed by 5-10 seconds.
  • Getting lost in a change room is really distressing. And sort of embarassing to admit to.

If I manage to conquer the snooze button tomorrow morning should be the sequel - "Big Show 2 - Swimming at Sunrise!"

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