‘Swimming is a confusing sport because sometimes you do it for fun and other times you do it to not die. And when I’m swimming, sometimes I’m not sure which one it is.’ Demetri Martin
I have a love/hate relationship with my swim and dive training on Monday evening. It starts at 8 pm and in the winter months it’s cold and dark outside when I go there. I often resent myself for inscribing myself and still I am taking part for the third year in a row.
When I hold my toes into the pool it is usually a small shock how cold the water actually is. The first to lengths I swim quickly in order to warm up. Before jumping in, we plunge our diving eqipment to the ground which is about 3.5 metres deep. After warming up we will have to dive down blindly and detangle it in order to put it on under water.
The first part of the training usually consists of swimming, a so called Cooper Test, where we swim 24 lenghts with a target time of 12 minutes, and then several other challenges, with and without fins. I was never good at sports involving pace (especially when the time is taken) and, to be honest, I loathe it. Panting for air and with water in the nose, mouth and my goggles, watching out not to bump in another head.. this is when I have to think about the abovementioned quote.
And then the fun part begins: diving. We dive lengths, do static breath holding exercises as well as combinations of swimming and diving. And, our most beloved exercise: taking off and putting on our diving equipment (consisting of fins, mask and snorkel) under water. Just the sight of the gear 3.5 metres below me on the cold floor of the pool used to give me the creeps after my first acquaintance with this exercise. Now in the advanced group the challenge is even greater, as we have to dive to the floor, take off everything, then dive the rest of the length without mask and fins. After a few deep breaths we dive the whole way back, put it on and resurface again to catch some air.
Paradoxically, no matter how strenuous the day has been and no matter how tired I feel before the training starts, AFTER it everything is washed of me and I feel strong and accomplished. And this effect is even more true when the training is especially hard. Isn’t it amazing?