The pool is cut, the water temperaturean icy 31F!I arrive at the pool, wrapped in my down jacket, wearing a woolen hat, and snow boots. Right now I’m comfortable, I’m anticipating that will soon change!
Time to swim, there is no getting around it before Saturday is complete I am going to plunge myself into the icy waters of lake Memphremagog, not once, not twice,three times, get ready Kiwi, you are about to be Popsicle!
At each end of the pool are wooden steps, I reluctantly take off my jacket, hat and flip flops, it is like walking the plank, as I walk down the steps into the icy water. Now it is time to swim, I dive off the ramp, the water hits me like a truck, it burns my skin, my breathing is rapid, my heart rate high, my face burns as I drive it into the water….and then it is over.
I get out and scamper off to the warming room. I make my way into the bathrooms for a warm shower. It is here I notice the water in the drain is red, I look at it, puzzled. I check my legs, arms, nothing,then I spy my thumb, the nail is ripped in half and it is spurting a bright red stream of blood. ” Oh dear, that’s going to be messy”, I think. I climb out of the shower, wrap myself up and head out into the other room, to let the hypothermic shaking subside. Soon it’s over, I wrap my thumb and have my sights set on the 50 Free.
Next up 50 Free, I have figured out that I ripped off my thumb nail, by getting tangled in the lane line, the water is murky black and I have not yet figured out how to swim straight.
I push off for the 50, this time I sight, to ensure I am swimming straight, even so, I find myself bear hugging the lane line once more, ” rats”, I gotta figure this out. I thunder towards the steps to make my turn,for the final 50. A flip turn is out of the question, and illegal, I drive my knees up fast to execute a touch turn, BAM, I wince as I drive my thigh into the wooden ledge at the end of the pool. My leg throbs, I swim on, my right leg dangling behind me, limp, like a deflated water toy. Then it’s over!
After 2 plunges into the icy waters of lake Memphremagog it is time for the final event of the day, the 100 FREESTYLE. Think about it, 100 meters in 31F water, you can’t see the bottom, you can’t feel your limbs, only the strong beat of your heart. I know I have to sight regularly, to swim as straight as possible, and the biggest one, I need to relax, and control my breathing. However, cold the water feels, I need to focus on what feels warm, my heart, my core. Into the water I step, with my new skills in place.” Swim straight, relax, get long, and as much as you want to pull your face up, out of that ice cold water, press it down, you’ll raise your hips, and swim faster”, I think. Mental training in place,ready to race!
It works I swim faster, and am out of the water, in no time at all, Hooray! My time 1:25. I am done for the day….and then, there’s tomorrow.
What’s coming up tomorrow?
The 200 meter Freestyle! This is no one and done deal, this will test me to my limit. I pack myself up, and after a wonderful visit with the other swimmers, I head home. I climb into bed, and lay there with my eyes wide open. My feet are throbbing from the cold exposure, ” It would be so easy to just stay under the warm covers at 7am tomorrow morning and not go back to swim the 200 Free”, I think, but I put the thought out of my mind, because I know I’ll swim and give it my all, so why bother going there. I drift off into dreams of hot showers and soup…
Will I get in and swim the 200 Free? I’ll keep you posted!
Closing Thought: ” There is no ceiling on effort” – Harvey C. Fruehauf