A pink taxi

A pink taxi

July 10, 2010

Swimming Pools, Swimming Pools, Swimming Pools

I have decided to commit my time to swimming this summer. The pools I swim laps in are 25m minimum and 50m maximum. I refuse to do laps in a pool where I will spend time touching walls. I have swam in many pools over the years, and I have an emotional attachment to each one. In this entry today, I  will give you my history of swimming.

Canyon Racket Club, Sandy, Utah.

The first pool I remember seriously swimming in was at the Canyon Racket Club in Utah, where I would visit my maternal grandparents. That is where the passion began (with a major crush on my coach Steve). It was a daily hour spent with my cousins. We were all the together on the swim team, even my second brother participated. I was then 11.

Brown Ledge Camp, Vermont.

I joined the swim team while at Brown Ledge Camp, and swam in the freezing Lake Champlain. When I missed practice once, the coach attempted to punish me. "You will swim a mile! That is 36 times the length from one floater in the lake to the other."

I defied him: "A mile? Ha! I will swim 2 miles."

It rained the day I had to swim. I still can picture the coach on the bench, under his umbrella, counting till 72. He even told the whole camp about it at the end of dinner. I was 15.

Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

Through the four seasons, during college, I walked to the indoor pool at the other side of the campus, and swam laps there with a good friend. Even with all that swimming, I still managed to gain the Freshman 15(lbs), and the Sophomore 15 and the Junior 15. I was 20.

River Court Condominium, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I was fortunate enough to have an indoor pool 25m long in the building I lived in  Boston, during graduate
school. I swam laps daily  there while pregnant with my first child. I was 30.

Piscine des Vernets, Geneva.

During my second and third pregnancies, I returned to the public pool where I used to practice swimming for the baccalaureate sport exam in high school. I accumulated lanes daily. I would surprise my fellow swimmers when I would emerge from the pool with my round belly. I was 34 and 36.

Piscine du Port Monaco

This is the Olympic size pool at the Monaco Port. It's a public pool for which you pay a small entry fee.  Like the public pools of Geneva, it has a communist feel. The changing rooms look like they date from the Cold War. I went there with my brothers and son. I was in my thirties.

Beach Hotel, Monaco

 I want to mention it because it's in strong contrast to the Port pool. Same olympic size, different bathers. Here, swimmers bronze in the sun completely bejeweled. My little brother used to dive into the pool with scuba mask to look for the coins that fell from the clients' swimsuits and would go buy himself an ice cream.

Jumeirah College, Dubai.

 Very rarely, I have jumped into the pool where my son practices swim team. I even get coached by my son's teacher, and am joined by  my sister- in -law and a good friend. I keep pushing myself, thinking: you make your ten year old do this four times a week, can't you do it four times a year?

Geneve Plage, Switzerland.

The Geneve Plage pool is at a fifteen min walk from my house, on the lake. I prefer its more temperate water to the colder lake water. Its 50m long and I have committed to swim there almost daily this summer as I had done regularly last summer. I have bought ten ticket entrance stubs at once so I can be sure to go at least ten times. With the multiple ticket card, I can skip the long line of teenagers and am glad that the lap swimmers have their reserved lanes. I will always have space in the pool to swim.

When there, I do look at my fellow lap swimmers and I always wonder what their story is, how they committed to swim laps I never count. It is an evolving thing, some leave, some join and then, thank god, its also my turn to leave. When I get out and throw my swim cap and goggles off, I look at them, all the same, classic swim strokes.

Speedo, Arena, Adidas swim suit, goggles, sometimes a swim cap, get into a lane and swim. God help you if you have the wrong goggles! With the right goggles that don't let water in, or are not so tight they cause a migraine, my mind does mathematics. I decompose the total number I want to swim into a series often increasing 2, 3,4,5 and constantly counting and barely stopping. Just wanting to finish and get out and achieve the goal. Swimming is one of the only cardio workouts I can do properly. I owe it to myself to dive in.

I also feel that I owe it to my son to accomplish my swimming goals, when he is with me at the pool. Just today, I told him we would  commit to swimming  30 laps together. He didn't even wince. Apparently, for him it was a simple task. We swam and I concentrated on my role modeling.

                                        My son with a photo of his true role model, Phelps


  1. Amazing lady our blogger who refuses to swim in our little pool of 12.5 m!
    She forgot to mention that her mom taught her swimming at the pool of the Golf club in Beyrouth.Forget about the lessons with Steve the lobster in Sandy,UT(yes the same town of Big Love)!The experience at the camp in
    Vermont and at Smith Collage added to her weight more then anything else,due to the delicious American food after the excersise!Though the covered pool at River Court in Cambridge,Mass.was very small,it kept the training embedded in her infant son.
    I admit she's the best swimmer amongst her siblings,and her determination is to be admired!

  2. Swimming is like walking, it's a great workout but also a necessity for all human beings... Children should learn how to swim as soon as they learn how to walk/run... The perfect form comes with time but the basics of staying afloat is more important than playing ball. This is Ali's first real summer where he is discovering the art of swimming, the importance of closing ones mouth and keeping ones head as high out of the water as possible while splashing with ones legs and arms. You can see the accomplishment on his face after wiping the water from his eyes and Teta giving him a standing ovation.

  3. I am a Black male from Chicago's inner city. I don't think we had any pools in my neighborhood. Anyway, I somehow managed to avoid water until age 40. Within a year I achieved my Life Guard and WSI certs (just for fun). 2yrs ago I couldn't swim a 25m without winding ...definitely not a 50m. Now I warm up with a 500m just to decide if I feel like swimming. This story reads like a dessert menu to me. I get it. As a late bloomer I don't expect to ever compete but it's got to be the closest to flying I know. I definitely get it.

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