So there I was, head held out of the water like a poodle fresh from the salon, when it struck me that several classic examples of LIFE were there in the pool with me in the form of my fellow swimmers.
SWIMMER #1: long, slow strokes, cutting through the water so carefully that he didn’t make a single splash. His hands were knives. His feet were scimitars. He swam on his front, then turned on to his back, seal-like, all the while as silent as a ghost in slippers.
SWIMMER #2: faster, this one, with a red swimming cap and fierce boggly goggles, she drove grimly on, splashing a bit but always pushing forward, relentless, never pausing for breath, doing that splashy crawl designed to impress but always with a hint of human flailing.
SWIMMER #3: With her nose clip and her sudden pause at the deep end, she sank as I watched. A silent back flip beneath the surface, then back into the world. A handstand next, pointing toes beneath me, hands holding down the bottom of the pool lest it explode upwards in an unaccountable fountain of blue tiles. Handstands again at the shallow end, big white legs straight and firm. Carefree. Encouragingly strange.
I swam until my legs trembled: envying swimmer #1, admiring swimmer #2, dreaming of a life as swimmer #3. Then a hot shower and away into the chill outside.