Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Swimming Malfunctions

swimsuit, laps, swimming, malfunction, malfunctions

Recently I decided to take my doctor's advice and try swimming to get some low-impact exercise.  To be honest, I resisted the idea of swimming because it required the purchase of one major stumbling block - a swimsuit.

I loathe shopping for swimsuits.  To me, all store fitting rooms have trick mirrors which make me look like the fat lady from the circus.  I look 2 feet shorter, 6 feet wider, 30 years older, and with the horrid lighting in the fitting rooms, I can almost see a beard.  

And then I remembered I had an old swimsuit which might still fit.  It wasn't the prettiest thing, and it was a 2 piece, but it had a little skirt that went down to my thighs and it covered all the same areas as a 1 piece swimsuit does.  I thought "Sweet!  No circus mirrors!".  I could almost hear the department store mirrors taunting me "You haven't seen the last of us!  Just wait and see!". 

The next day I headed out to our local swim center and discovered they were having a water aerobics class populated with elderly women.  Yay!, I thought.  I'm not the only overweight, grey-headed, out-of-shape person in the entire swim center and, with the median age in here, I'm the youngster

I had set a goal of trying to swim 5-6 laps.  It seemed achievable at the time, especially since I'd been a very good, strong swimmer in my younger days.  So what if that was nearly 30 years ago.  I was certain I couldn't be that out of shape. 

I stuck one foot in the water and gasped.  That water was downright cold but, determined not to be swayed from my goal, I sucked it up and jumped in.  I quickly found an open lane to swim in, which just so happened to be between two elderly gentlemen.  After saying hello and watching these old birds steadily swim laps as I warmed up, I decided to show them how good of a swimmer I was.  

Remembering  all of my swim team training from years ago, I pushed off the wall with great gusto .......... and proceeded to spend the next few minutes retrieving my swimsuit bottom from around my ankles.  With a lot of struggling I got my bottoms pulled up, which wasn't the easiest thing to do since the pool is 10+ feet deep and I had to tread water while trying to pull the darn thing up.   Definitely not my most shining moment.  

I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed the incident.  The old guys were still swimming, the ladies were still aerobicising and, much to my relief, no one was laughing so hard they were drowning.  It appeared they all had missed my fiasco.

I started swimming as though nothing had happened and made it three-quarters of the way across the pool when all of a sudden I came across the most dreaded thing a person can encounter in a public swimming pool.......... a warm spot.  Oh dear heavens!  Considering the average age in the pool that day, I was a bit freaked out.  I pondered the possibilities of Depends making swim diapers while I made it the few remaining strokes to the pool wall.  As I was gasping for air, one of the gentleman next to me spoke and said "sure is nice to hit those heated water spots when you're getting close to the end, isn't it?".  Oh thank you Lord! Greatly relieved, I hadn't thought about the fact the pool could have a heater.  

After catching my breath, I pushed away from the wall, this time with one hand holding onto my swimsuit bottom.  Never thought about the fact that if one arm is against your side it will allows air bubbles into the top of the swimsuit.... giant air bubbles.

I was forced to surface from my glide due to the buoyancy of the top of my swimsuit.  This darned suit now had enough air in it to fill the Goodyear blimp and was  exposing enough skin that I may as well have just gone skinny-dipping.  I could almost hear those department store circus mirrors snickering at me for not having purchased a new swimsuit.  After releasing the air from my swimsuit top with a giant "swoosh" and putting the appropriate body parts back into the appropriate part of the suit, I finished the lap and decided not to push off the wall on the next lap.  

What I discovered as I started to try and swim was even more startling than the previous 2 swimsuit malfunctions.  The innocuous little skirt which hid my rather unsightly thighs, had taken on enough water at this point that the bottom half of me was sinking ever lower into the water.  This was causing enough pull and drag that I was now swimming at a steep angle and my head was sinking below the water line.  That little swatch of fabric around my thighs was like an anchor and quickly becoming the last step in my complete and total humiliation by possibly requiring me to be rescued by the 80 year old men swimming in the lanes next to me.  

Somehow I had to find the strength to out-swim the skirt's drag.  Out of pure self-preservation and redheaded determination, I made it to the end of the pool.  After spending 1.5 laps fighting swimsuit malfunctions, I decided that was enough exercise to equate to swimming 10 laps and left the swim center.
I returned to swim 2 days later with a new women's Speedo swimsuit.  Before returning, I had braved the darned old department store fitting room mirrors and even went so far as to cover their circus-like reflections with my clothes. After that swimming experience all I needed was a swimsuit that fit and was functional - no mirror required.

As I walked up to the pool, I was greeted by the same 2 older gentlemen who were there on my first swim.  One of the gentlemen teased "Looks like you've got a new swimsuit.  Does this mean you're going to actually swim a full 2 laps today?".  Oh, so you're a feisty old bird, eh?, I thought.  "Oh definitely!" I replied, "and this swimsuit should stay on while I'm swimming.".  Both men's jaws dropped and one of them muttered "Darn!  I knew I should've gotten the prescription swim goggles........".

by: Christie Bielss

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