This evening marked the closing of our outdoor swimming season. The last, local pool closed its doors tonight at 8:00 pm. The past many summer weeks, that Spouse o' Mine and I have retraced the miles back into town each evening, to enjoy our "twilight swim" alongside other lap swimmers in our little community.
Tonight that Spouse o' Mine opted for a community bike ride instead of the lap swim. Power to him, because I was lollygagging in water during our high-80s temps, and he was working it maniacally in the 30 mph wind gusts.
The pool was loaded with activity. I love activity! Upon arriving to the lap lanes, I spotted a friend whom I have not seen for three years - and there he was, back from Ecuador, back in my pool, swim cap and goggles on. How in the world did I recognize him? How did he recognize me, in my swimsuit, ponytail, and goggles? Ha ha ha! Anyway: What a fun chance meeting. One never knows...right?
The pool was so busy with activity: lap swimmers, school kids, Ft. Riley soldiers and their kin...
I asked to share a lap lane with another woman. Easy peasy. I swam eight laps, and on my ninth, my hand struck out towards the end of the pool , and I struck a young girl's leg instead! She was sitting on the edge of the pool. I laughed and said, "I am so sorry!" She laughed, and replied. "You swim like that?" She motioned the freestyle which I had been doing. I laughed and said "Yes! How do you swim?" And she hopped into my lap lane to show me. (Her backstroke). But! Knowing the strict lifeguards, I said to her, "Let's duck under the rope and you show me there ." ("There", being the "free-swim" area, not policed by lap-swimmer-lifeguards.)
She showed me her backstroke, and a few dives and handstands down to the 4' bottom, and then we were done! I moved to swim back under the rope into my lap lane,. and I saw: SHOOT! Another woman had usurped (in my opinion) my lane occupancy.
So I spent the rest of my laps swimming inbetween casual swimmers, standers, and little kids. Big kids. Fort Riley soldiers. You name it.
Finally, before even my 20 laps were done, I called it "Toast!" and climbed my ladder. I toweled off, and sat for the remaining fifteen minutes of my hour. And I loved it. I loved watching the little kids. There is nothing better. I loved watching the preteens maneuvering their social skills.
The very, very best was this:
Upon entering the pool this evening, I stood right behind two 70-something women. I applauded them mentally. As I sat after my abbreviated laps, I saw that one was swimming in a lap lane, probably not where she should have been - alongside two other more able-bodied swimmers. She was swimming at a snail's pace. One of the other women moved to a different lane, to free up that particular lane. And so this elderly woman swam, slowly to be sure, but surely, AND she had a tremendous smile on her face.
I hope I weather to have that smile on my face in 20+ years, in a pool.
The other woman. I lost her early on. But after toweling off and sitting down, I chanced to see her down at the diving boards. She sported a bikini. The bikini look was ok. She climbed up the high-dive, and when she got to the end of the board, she turned (backward), positioned her toes just so, and made several hand movements, back and forth, as if she were practicing Tai Chi. And then:
This incredible 70-something woman executed the most amazing spring-board back dive that Manhattan City Park will ever witness.
It was AWESOME. Even the lifeguards were smiling.
This 70-something woman toweled off, like they do in the Olympics, and then she stood in line for another dive. This time, she faced forward, did some more arm and hand movements which looked like Tai Chi, and then:
She performed the most beautiful swan dive off the spring board (high dive.) that I could ever imagine.
And you know what? This woman repeated her dives four time (eight dives in all).
I want to applaud her. I swam some silly laps at 56. She is SWAN-DIVING at 70-something.
You lead us, diving lady. See you next summer.