Back in the pool today after a ‘spell’ of more than a few days. I have slightly stuffed up my leg either running in the bush or sitting studying for exams. Or it might be how I sleep. Anyway my leg is slightly stuffed but that is not actually why I have been out of the pool. That was all about timing.
I had my mojo on today and was in a decent freestyle rhythm. There were two lap lanes and the rest of the pool was opened up for kids to mess about. I was the only lap swimmer, I love that about this tiny town. Sure, it makes me look like a freak, but there’s no interruption of my wonky lap strategy.
Except when kids start racing me. Halfway up the pool, around lap six, I thought hang on, these two little shadows to my left and right are trying to keep up. Lap eight, again at the 25m mark, two shadows. I throttled back just a bit and slapped the wall when I hit the end. A triumphant little voice off to my left piped ‘I win!’. I grinned at her and laughed, and took off for the return leg. Lap ten, they gave themselves a huge headstart and bailed me up a the blocks. ‘You’re really fast.’ ‘Is that the fastest you can swim?’ No, that was about medium pace. And don’t tell the kids this, but I’m really not that fast.
I spent the next half hour hanging down the deep end of the pool with these nutty little kids getting myself recruited into the local swimming club. There’s a fight on to save the Council pool, which is on bequeathed land in a prime level, elevated riverfront position. This little town has some social issues, and losing a community asset like the clapped out old pool would actually have a not-so-great impact on the less affluent end of town. But this is not about the pool, it’s about Matt and Kyesha, my new best friends.
They’ve been friends since kindy, and they both live in the rough end of town, but they’ll be going to different public high schools at the end of next month. Both of them were chirpy and articulate and confident, and they talked over the top of each other like a pair of magpies. Thanks to Matt, I now know that I can touch the bottom of the deep end, and that the deep end is 3.6 metres, which I’d have to say is currently the limit of how deep I want to go. Thanks to Kyesha, I know a little of the politics of the local street gangs and whose tags mean what, and I have a new joke for twelve year olds. There are some old people in the swimming club, like maybe they are sixty but not really old, and when you join this club you make friends with people straight away. One new lady with a walking stick would probably be my friend. Even though she cheered Kyesha on, which is really embarrassing. And then we raced a bit more, and it was time to go home.
So, do I want to join the swimming club and help to save the pool? It costs all of thirty dollars. I’d get to swim on Friday nights and I’d make lots of friends like Kyesha and Matt. Maybe even some old people. As for saving the pool, well, I’ve been avoiding the politics because it seemed like someone else’s fight. But I actually feel quite strongly that these kids from the wrong side of the highway should keep a pool they can walk to in under an hour.
That’s worth thirty dollars and dipping my oar in.