March 03, 2007

Who's The Y Wacko Now?

Today marks a milestone in my athletic career. Let's note this in our respective diaries, shall we. Saturday March 3, 2007. On this day, for the first time in the memorable past, I went swimming at the local YMCA and didn't see any crazed freaky folks in the pool with me.

I know, I thought it was impossible as well.

But alas, nary a wacko was swimming in the pool this morning. They all seemed practically normal.
Who woulda thunk.

I half expected the Scuba Diver to be there. After all, she's in the pool just about every morning. She's always decked out in her full-face mask, super snorkel and two-foot flippers - pretty much enough gear to get her across the 25 yard pool in under 2.5 seconds. When I first saw her I thought she must be starting diving lessons and wanted to get in the pool to practice. That was 2 years ago. I'm not sure what practice she still needs.

Then there's The Kicker. She's my favorite. I love when she's in the pool with me because it gives me something to stare at - like a car crash doing laps. The Kicker could be a decent swimmer if she wasn't such a spazz. Calling her The Kicker may not even be accurate because what her legs are doing is to kicking like Spam is to meat: same basic category, but way more embarrassing.

Did you ever see the Monty Python shtick about the Ministry Of Silly Walks? It's the one where they walk across the room in exaggerated steps - long, wide, and high. That's how The Kicker swims, like she's on the swim team for the Ministry of Silly Walks.

I sometimes try to emulate her kick to see what it feels like, mostly because I want to know if there's anyway in hell that it even remotely feels natural. It doesn't.

At first I thought she was just practicing stretching her legs. But it's been over a year now and I think her legs are all stretched out. Besides, she does that so-called kicking throughout her entire workout, it's not just part of a longer training session. It amazes me that somebody can swim in a pool so frequently with such a dramatically retarded kicking form and not notice the style in which every other person in the pool is kicking. I'm not one to go up and randomly teach people how to swim, but when I see her flailing out there, all I want to do is give her a kickboard, a couple of simple pointers and perhaps a thwack across the face.

Of course there's also The Doctor. Il Doctore is at the pool like clockwork at 7am every morning. He jumps into the lane (literally) and then goes about his 30-or-so minutes of lap swimming. To the layman's eye, The Doctor is a fine swimmer. But if you look a little deeper you find some wonderfully fascinating idiosyncrasies. There's the knife splitting scissor kick that'll attack you like a moray eel if you come too close. I know, I've got the black and blue marks to prove it. And then there's the dragging left arm that just can't seem to get all the way out of the water on the recovery part of the stroke. Right arm looks good, finger-tip dragging and all. The left arm is like a dead jellyfish. I hope The Doctor isn't a left-handed surgeon.

Yet perhaps my favorite part of The Doctor's swimming style happens just as he approaches the end of the lane. Throughout each lap he's got a fairly decent stroke that's not too rushed. But for some reason unbeknownst to man, whenever he's within three feet of the wall he tries to fit in four or five extra strokes in the distance where there should be no more than one. I suppose it's the swimming equivalent of Fred Flintstone's bowling form.

But, as I said before, none of my freaky swimming buddies were there during my workout today. Instead, I was joined in my lane by a woman so streamlined I mistook her for a dolphin at one point. No matter how hard I pushed, she was kicking my ass every which way but loose. And then there was the couple in the lane next to me that may very well have had a Speedo endorsement from the looks of them.

I suppose what this all means is that I was today's pool freak.
Given my recent form, that's not too far from the truth.

10 comments:

IM Able said...

I had a law school prof who said once...There's always that *one* guy (or gal) in the room. And if you don't know who it is, then it's probably you...

Looks like today it was you! :)

Spokane Al said...

Except for the people in your last paragraph I think I resemble some of your remarks.

Robin said...

Every pool has it's wonderful quirky characters, doesn't it? I guess everyone enjoys the water in their own way, and not everyone is out to be superfast. Thanks for the view into your swimming microcosm :-)

Cindy Jo said...

I used to be the dolphin, but due to my lack of swimming the past two years I'm pretty sure I'm my pool's freak most days.

Andra Sue said...

You totally made me miss the crazy freaks from my old pool! The one-armed swimmer (who actually had two working arms, but just used one)...banana hammock guy...middle-aged woman with the Monchichi swimsuit...Mr. Whale-wake...bad breath guy (god forbid you're in an adjacent lane--he breathes bilaterally). Awwww...

Mallie said...

I'm so happy to hear that there are "swim freaks" in pools other than the one here in the Maconga. We have a scuba diver, too. Only it's a sixty-something man, and he even manages to the backward flop off the side as if he's falling into the sea from the side of a boat!

Crash said...

great post - I think most of your "characters" exist in all of our public pools.

Anonymous said...

Yes! That's great! I'v always wondered what it is about a swimming pool that brings out such randomness in people. I do like the variety...as long as it's not in my lane.

Anonymous said...

LOL! i just found your blog. too funny

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

Do you go to my pool? "I'm not one to go up and randomly teach people how to swim, but when I see her flailing out there, all I want to do is give her a kickboard, a couple of simple pointers and perhaps a thwack across the face." I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! I have the breaststroker who always jumps in my lane to draft me, the splasher who slaps the water with a force that echoes off the walls, and of course all the floating whales. I like to call it "granny broth" because there are so many of them just floating there like buoys.