Yesterday morning I awoke at 6:30am to hit the pool before work. I barely felt awake by the time I arrived. In fact, I made it all the way into the locker room before realizing I brought my work bag in with me, and left my gym bag in the car, instead of the other way around. So, after walking all the way back across the park to my car and swapping bags, I finally changed and arrived poolside.
And I was greeted with a very pleasant surprise.
The pool had been reconfigured! The pool I swim in is truly Olympic-sized. It’s 50 meters long and 25 yards across. I’ve only seen it set up as a 25-yard lap pool. It’s more versatile this way: there can be 18 lanes, or they’ll remove the lane lines in the deep end, which provides enough room for water polo, diving, or synchronized swimming, all of which I’ve seen going on when I’ve been working out. Even with those sports in the deep end, there’s still enough lanes to accommodate local swim teams AND the general lap-swimming public, with enough room at the other end for recreational swimming for kids and families. It’s a big pool.
But this is the first time I’ve gone to swim before work, and it turns out that on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, they put the lane lines in the other way, making it a 50-meter lap pool. This is how the real competitors swim. When you watch swimming during the Olympics in a couple weeks, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will be swimming in a 50-meter pool.
And this morning, I did too.
It’s not the first time I’ve swum in a 50-meter pool, but it has been a good 17 or 18 years since I last dipped my toes in one. Pools this size are pretty rare, and most youth swimming programs, up through the collegiate level, are in 25-yard pools. I grew up competing on a local swim team called BBA, and when I was in my early teens, there were a couple summers where our team had access to one of the few 50-meter pools in the area. Our practices were held from 5:30-7:30 in the morning, and most days, the pool was warmer than the air.
I was excited when I saw the 50-meter configuration yesterday, because I’ve been hitting the pool so much lately as training for next month’s open water swim, and this meant I’d have less walls to push off of, and more distance to cover before the opportunity to stop and take a rest. Therefore, it’s slightly more like open water swimming.
I started with 1,000 meters straight (20 lengths of the pool), then followed it up with 200 kick, 200 pull, 3 x 200 IMs, and a 100 meter cool down. Before I knew it, it was time to hit the showers and get ready for the office.
In total, I swam 2,100 meters, which is almost equal to 2,300 yards. The longer pool threw off my rhythm, especially in backstroke, because I had no idea how far from the wall I was (and they didn’t reposition the flags), but I didn’t mind. I was happy with my workout, and especially happy to get it over with so early in the day.
Keep it up, David!