Once upon a time I was a pre-baby-making creature in my early 30s and I wanted to go swimming.
I used to love water as a kid. We’d spend summers at public pools or in lakes, back in Switzerland. Twice during my childhood we went to Italy, once to Rome and once to Riccione. If I remember correctly I learned to swim in the salty Adriatic waters of Riccione…mom would hold my chin above water, that’s how it was done back in the day.
But swimming kind of fell out of fashion for me. Might have been for practicality reasons, or I simply outgrew the fun aspect of it. Swimming as an adult meant doing repetitive laps, back and forth, feeling those muscles tense and relax with each stroke through the chlorinated waves. Gone were the days of jumping and diving and splashing my friends or siblings…
Well one day, when I was in my 30s, I decided to go back to the pool, for fitness reasons. First I had to buy a bathing suit (not a bikini). Then I splurged on a swim pass with 20 sessions on it. Each time I went to the pool they would clip a hole in my card.
Next I checked the schedule. There was an Adult Swim as well as an Adult/Senior Swim that had times which suited me. The Senior Swim times fitted better with my schedule so I figured what the heck, I’ll go to that one. Bunch of little old ladies aren’t going to bother me…
So I get there. I change into my suit. I wander onto the deck and debate if I should climb in using the steps, wade in on the ramp, or walk over to the slow lane and sit at the edge and slide into the water, the way kids usually do.
Then I noticed the seniors. 😀
There were about seven or eight of them, of which three were men.
They were all hanging around the shallow end chit chatting.
When I walked in they all stopped their chatter and looked at me.
Actually, a better way to describe it was they stared at me. 😶
It felt quite voyeuristic and a little nerve-wracking, if you must know. In hindsight, I realize they were just curious why this young thing without any physical disabilities or excessive weight would crash the Senior Swim session. I was viewed as the newbie, the stranger, the interruption to their routine.
I felt like a zoo animal. 😛
The ladies, draped over various flotation devices, glared mostly at my mid section. I understand this today, as a post-baby making person. We all used to have much slimmer waists and abdomens. 🙃
The men, all three of them, were much more analytical in their staring/inspecting/scrutinizing or whatever the hell they were doing. They never took their eyes off me, especially not after I turned a corner and they got a glimpse of my backside. 😜
I made my way over to a lane which was, unsurprisingly, empty. My geriatric buddies weren’t of the fit sort to actually swim for fitness although I suspect the only reason they were there was on doctor’s orders.
I wondered if they tell their doctors the truth of what really goes on at their bi-weekly swim sessions… 🙄
As I sat there at the edge contemplating how much work it will take me to swim the first length, I watched the activities of these elderly people. The majority of them were probably at least in the later part of their 60s…
Three of the ladies huddled together chatting with each other. They had flotation devices to help balance them and they seemed content to just do their thing, wading back and forth. The other two ladies would swim toward the little group occasionally, and then swim off again, mostly in circles within the shallow end. One lady however attempted the deep end but she turned back halfway.
I have to say, I gave them credit to even show up for swim sessions. With mobility issues, health ailments, and often weight challenges, just getting dressed and undressed must be quite the production in itself.
The men in the meantime…lol.
I don’t know if it was because I was there, but they suddenly seemed to have a burst of energy. 😀
One guy in particular went swimming into the deep end and did this turn at the edge, without stopping, and swam back. I noticed he was panting a little when he arrived back in senior circle time and glanced at the lifeguards to see if they, too, were watching.
Last thing anyone needs is a heart attack emergency. 😶
I did eventually swim my length, but I’m not a very good swimmer and kept my head above water, mostly. The first time I went I had to stop at each end before continuing, but as I went a few times, I got some stamina and managed to swim longer.
I don’t remember how often I ended up swimming back then. By the time the babies came, I had lost the card and I didn’t have much time anymore anyway. Besides, they needed swim lessons which was pretty much the only time I went to the pool after they arrived.
The reason I experienced this sudden flood of memories is because yesterday, while shopping for undergarments, I came across a bikini on sale which, on a whim, I tried on and, when it fit, I bought. 😀
Now I just need a beach vacation, or a house with a pool. Or, maybe after I hit publish on this thing, I’ll go check out the senior swim schedule at the local pool.