May 23, 2007

Special Things Have Happened

Of the twenty 25-yard repeats that I slogged through earlier this week, the fastest clocked in at 18.0 seconds. It'd be a lie if I were to say that this didn't make me a wee bit happy. Which is probably why I keep talking about my swimming until I practically reach the point where I don't want to even hear me talk about it anymore either.

Last year there was no way I could even come close to an 18 second split. So after I stopped coughing up all of the water that I swallowed in that final 25 yard jaunt, I actually smiled and symbolically patted myself on the proverbial back.

I felt fast while I was swimming those 25 measly yards, and the 18.0 seconds on the watch just solidified my feelings. I don't always feel fast when I swim. In fact, I rarely feel fast when I swim, so it was nice to actually have the sensation that I was zipping forward faster than my usual slug-like pace.

As you probably know already, I do most of my swim workouts at the YMCA which is Santa Monica's own personal haven for the geriatrics and hygiene deficient. Sometimes I am the fastest swimmer in the pool. Of course, given the motley crew of nearly incompetent participants, that's like saying I'm the prettiest person in a leper colony. (Bad analogy... I'm going to hell for that one.)

However, I am not always the fastest swimmer in the YMCA pool. More often than not, there are one or two who are flying by me like I'm treading water with a couple of cinderblocks tied to my pelvic girdle. So when I clocked in my 18.0 and actually felt fast doing it, well... yippee for me.

As I stood there on the edge of the pool, hacking up chlorine in joyous hairball bursts of pride, I reflected on my 18 seconds of Aquaman-ishness and started having those ever-so-ridiculous delusions of Olympic grandeur.

Of course, the moment I started actually believing I had somehow transformed into a swimming wunderkind, I got to thinking about how incredibly fast the Olympic swimmers are flying through the water.

I was lucky enough to visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs recently. They've got this wire thing-a-ma-bobby in the Olympic Center pool that attaches to swimmers and drags them through the water at World Record pace. The goal for the athletes is to swim faster than world record pace and put some slack on that rope. Neat, huh?

The current world record pace for 50 meters is 21.10 seconds. Which means that good ole Fred Bousquet (the French fellow who set the world record in 2002), can swim 25 yards in well under 10 seconds compared to my relatively embarrassingly torpid 18 seconds.

One could only imagine that if I were strapped behind this world record dragging cord at the Olympic Center, I would be painfully pulled through the pool like a pathetic, fallen water skier who forgot to let go of the dang rope. I feel like I'm choking on chlorine just thinking about it. [cough][hack][ccchat-ptoooie!]

In a funny way it is humbling going to the Olympic Training Center and walking down the same paths that Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, Apolo Ohno and so many others so much more talented than me had walked down before. You don't necessarily feel like you're in a special place when you're at the Olympic Training Center but you definitely feel like you're in a place where special things have happened.

I suppose that's the place my mind is in right now. I'm not special - no more than you. But I'm going through a stage in my swim, where special things are happening. And that makes me feel really good. Like I accomplished an enormous goal. Like I am, in fact, special. Like I've finally met my own personal Olympian tucked deep down inside of me.


TriJack said...

great times!
nicely written as always....

jbmmommy said...

I think if I ever compared what I can do to any of the accomplished athletes out there, I might give up. Congrats on that 18 second split, that's pretty fast.

Robin said...

That's so fun when a breakthrough happens, congrats on your 18 seconds, that's pretty speedy!

Lesser is More said...

I agree. Sometimes its nice to swim some short sprints to get that fast feel...then go back to being a slug in the pool, swimming 2000+ yards at "normal" pace...

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

Remember what happened when they said Nemo couldn't swim? He sure proved THEM wrong. You're a fish!