There is no adventure in lap swimming. (But there is.)

250 warm-up

4×100 freestyle with lateral breathing, alternating every 25 yrs :15 rest in between

2×250 freestyle with breathing pattern, 25 – 6, 50 – 5, 75 – 4, 100 – 3.

100 freestyle normal bilateral

100 kick

4×50 IM order :15 rest

200 warm-down

For a grand total of 1750 yards. One mile.

In 2005, one mile was no big deal. Now, nine years later, it’s a big deal.

Have you ever sat and watched someone swim even just 500 yards? It’s dull. There seems to be no adventure to it. No grand strokes of difference, just tenacious kicking. Swimming laps is sterile and monotonous, for the watcher and for the swimmer. The lanes do not change. The floor, if we’re very lucky, gradually approaches and receives, adding some visual interest and an indication of the passage of distance; something to show, at least, for the enormous effort of moving through water. Sound becomes white noise, drowned by water and exasperated by the funny way all pool buildings refract sound. Even sensation drops away. You can feel nothing but the current of your own momentum against your skin.

There is no adventure to be seen in lap swimming. But there is adventure.

Held afloat, made buoyant by a blend of momentum and body fat, the mind slips away. Your brain no longer has to think about holding your stomach in or wonder what that smell is. Instead, muscle memory takes over and your thinking mind relaxes. While your body is counting strokes between breath, the thinking mind suspends.

Is this the swimmer’s version of a runner’s high? If so, then I haven’t run far enough or fast enough to reach this state – balanced perfectly between the Id and Superego.

There’s some correlation between which thoughts come up the stroke. Backstroke makes me plan for future things, accomplishments that haven’t yet been. Breaststroke (my worst stroke by far) is where I face weakness. Freestyle is where anxieties are presented and summarily dismissed. Butterfly (my favorite stroke by far) is pure adrenaline; it’s where I stand up for myself. Butterfly is an efficient, powerful stroke; you cannot swim butterfly when you are at war with yourself. If you do not believe that you are efficient and powerful, then the stroke will punish you.

At least, I always feel efficient and powerful after I swim butterfly. But, people who love to swim butterfly are at least a little bit crazy. I honestly don’t know if I was any good at butterfly back in 2005. I think I was okay. Not amazing, but okay. Even at my most competitive, my times didn’t really matter. I just loved swimming butterfly. I was definitely crazy.

This past one-mile swim, during my 50 backstroke I thought, “I bet I’m the right kind of crazy for triathlons.”

There is adventure in swimming laps. You just may not see quite yet.


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