Monday, July 5, 2010

Pool without markings = finger jams

Until I started swimming I never knew that markings on the bottom of the pool had any more than a decorative function. But now I rely on them all the time. In the pool where I do most of my workouts, each lane has a black-tile line (or is it blue?) that runs the length of the lane. There is also a line that crosses the lanes at the spot where the pool depth transitions from 5 feet to 12 feet, and when I'm doing laps I know that when I cross that line I'm less than 1/3 of the way to the end. Close to each lane's end at either end of the pool there is a 'T' shape that indicates that the wall is upon you. Swimmers use this landmark when judging where to start their flip turns. Since I'm not an expert at flip turns yet, I simply keep up the freestyle until I see the 'T' and then I reach out for the wall to stop or turn around. I have a good feeling for the size of the pool since I practice there several times a week.

But all last week my regular pool has been closed and I've been practicing in my neighborhood pool, which has no floor markings. The result is that I have thrown my arm out in front of me as part of the catch of a freestyle stroke, only to have the middle finger of my right hand collide with the pool wall and jam. It is disorienting to swim in a pool without pool markings. I suppose I could slow down when I think I'm close to the wall, and this would hopefully prevent collisions, but the pool is only 15 yards long so I'm barely starting to get into a rhythm by the time I reach the opposite wall and have to turn around. Oh well, I'll manage. Just don't ask me to open jars of peanut butter while my middle finger is healing.

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