Hi all! I am republishing this blog since my husband just swam again in this particular meet in Myrtle Beach (South Carolina Masters State Championship). Wow, where did that year go? He came in first (I say proudly) in his age group for the 200 IM and the 400 IM. Woo Hoo! And he came home with a beautiful award for his team (out of State) coming in second. I was the counter again for the 500 free and the 1650 free (66 laps!!) and I didn’t mess him up. I am getting the swing of it. Next year maybe I won’t be so nervous being the counter! I still don’t swim. Maybe by next year things will change! Oh and P.S. the oldest woman there at this meet was 85 years young. I’m sure her family is so proud of her!
Swimming. Recently, I accompanied my husband to a South Carolina State swim meet in North Myrtle Beach, SC. He asked me to be his counter for his 500 yard swim. Twenty lengths…..of freestyle…..in a standard 25 yard pool. I say this because if you are anything like me, I don’t remember what a lap is or, rather, how far a lap is in a ‘normal’ racing pool. There is a lot about this sport that I don’t understand.
So, to be a counter you put the counter board down under the water so the swimmer may see how many laps he or she has completed. I suppose when you swim/race twenty laps you might forget how many laps you have swam (or swum?)…..Yeah…..I guess so! So with each couple of laps completed the counter has to flip the board showing two more laps completed. Then, again, push the board back under the water to be read. You get the idea.
I didn’t mind doing this for my husband … no, not at all. However, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to stand up afterwards because the pain in the knee hasn’t gotten any better. One, because as much as I try, arthritis just doesn’t disappear when I want it to and two, I haven’t lost that knee hurting extra weight I carry around. Geez. I am working on it….slowly. No need to rush.
Counting was successful and I didn’t screw up! I put the correct number of laps on the board and pushed it under the water for him to see. Success! I have to say I was the ONLY counter NOT in a bathing suit. I was fully clothed with sneakers on. Boy, I felt sooo out of it. A word in my defense. It was very cold out. The northeast was being snowed upon again and people were shoveling out of two feet of snow. Myrtle Beach was cold but minus the snow. I was dressed appropriately for the weather. These swimmers were not. The problem was when I was finished counting I was also soaked from my waist down. Cute.
Impressed was I of all those swimmers. Remember the days when we were very embarrassed to be in a swimsuit in front of our friends or help…. boys?!! Watching these swimmers walk around in racing suits, no shoes, and dripping wet, I found I was admiring them all. In attendance were all shapes and sizes and all ages of people. The Masters swimming program includes anyone 18 and over and these meets include everyone. When you sign up for a meet the swimmer writes his best time for a certain event and that swimmer is put into the appropriate ‘heat’ swimming against others in various age groups with approximately the same race time for that event. There were many retired folks at this meet and it was for those people who I gained a newfound respect. Men with one or two too many beers, women who had passed their prime figure years and many who obviously had one or two hip replacements, knee replacements, hernia scars…..etc. In this particular meet there were swimmers close to 80 years old. Amazing to me that there was no embarrassment or hiding of stomachs or legs with cellulite! Amen! Some older bodies were in great shape but I will guess that those people would have great bodies regardless. ‘They’ say swimming is the best exercise when we reach, ahhem, retirement age. Come to realize that retirement doesn’t mean having to be embarrassed about aging and having an older body. Thank goodness. How wonderful is this?
There are approximately 60,000 members of the US Masters Swimming program give or take. There are meets throughout the country and in almost every State of the Union. Members don’t have to race others in a meet but might just be happy being a member of the Masters in their local towns…. joining a club with those having the same interest.
My husband has tried to encourage me to join the Masters and swim in a meet. He tells me I could do the backstroke and win a lst place ribbon. Really? Backstroke? The last time I swam backstroke I hit my head against the pool and I saw stars. I wasn’t paying attention. More importantly, the last time I swam a race is when I was probably 15 years old. It was in the ocean off of Long Beach Island, New Jersey. There were about 15 of us. God only knows why there was a race in the ocean. I don’t remember anything except hearing someone say ‘Go’ (could have been a pistol maybe I suppose or a foghorn) and I started swimming out to sea. Don’t remember how far I swam but I do recall when I stopped I was far from the beach. I kept thinking that I should be finished this race so I just kept swimming and swimming. The other participants were finished and were on the beach. No one looked concerned about me being way out in the ocean. I obviously overshot the race end and I felt like a jerk the way a young person can only feel when they did something foolish in front of their peers. I swam in and to my utmost surprise I had brought home the silver! I still have that medal. What I also still have is that feeling of being a jerk while trying my best to be cool. Thank goodness I don’t have to show my ‘coolness’ anymore. Definite benefits being part of the golden age.
I was once a serious runner and now I am very serious about walking. Not swimming. In another life I will swim but I will begin at an earlier age. Not 65. Of course NOW is the time to begin new adventures and start something new. Did I say that? I don’t know but swimming against others who probably swam in school and understand that the pool is a 25 yard length. Missed opportunities?….maybe there is hope.
Maybe I will change my mind. Maybe. But first I have to lose some weight to look better in a bathing suit. A girl has to have some self respect.