When I was in the sixth grade I joined a swim team, the Troy Area Gators (or TAG). It wasn’t a school team and was very informal; we practiced several nights a week but competing at meets was optional. I, of course, having had a deadly fear of losing and making a fool of myself (still do), never attended a meet. However, joining this fun crew of swimmers further cemented my love of being in the water. My biggest accomplishment that year was completing a Swim-a-Thon, or 100 laps. My dad still talks about that day with pride as though I swam the English Channel.
Now, 18 years later (fuck!), my 30-year-old self has registered for my first sprint distance triathlon, despite my small bank account and the outrageous costs of doing so. I say “outrageous” costs only because I previously had no bike, tri suit, wet suit, or anything tri-related but a pair of running shoes. I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize to 12-year-old Laura for growing up to be so poor. I’m sorry your plans to grow up and marry Noel Gallagher never came to fruition.
After I signed up for my triathlon, I decided to brush up on my swimming skills. I found (cheap) private lessons offered by a swim teacher at a local high school. At my first class, my teacher asked me to do one lap freestyle to see what she was working with. I didn’t even go two feet without flipping over on my back, gasping for air. It didn’t help my ego that children were effortlessly butterfly stroking in the lanes next to me. Clearly I needed a lot of work.
It’s now been three weeks, and though I’m no freestylin’ fool in the pool yet, I’m getting there. Every class is a mix of lap swimming and strength/endurance building drills. I’ve been introduced to fun new toys, like the pull buoy, hand paddles, and flippers. It’s a tough workout, and more importantly, fun as hell.
Did I really need to take swimming classes in order to swim 500 meters in a sprint tri? Not at all. I guess adult Laura has been looking for an excuse for a long time to get her butt back into the pool. Sadly, the Looney Tunes lap suit she used to wear is long gone, but her love of the water still remains.