My hand is like a blade as it cuts into the water in front of me. I’ve turned it slightly inwards so that the inside tip of my index finger is first to break through the water’s surface before the rest of my hand slips easily through.
Small bubbles form around my hand as I push it down and back along my body. The bubbles float to the surface as my hand passes below my shoulder, making interesting and surreal patterns. I smile inwardly as I watch the bubbles.
As my hand pulls back past my hips I feel swirls of water against my thighs long before my hand rises. The swirls make their way down towards my knees as my body glides forward in the water and then the swirls are gone; left behind as I move ever forward. Maybe the swirls continue to move through the water behind me or maybe they have done their work and dissipate quickly in my wake.
My elbow rises high like a shark fin as I start to pull my hand back out of the water. As I breath I watch the water drops arc across the water under my now exposed hand. At first the drops are like a small waterfall as water tumbles back into the pool. But by the time my hand is descending back towards the water only a few small droplets spill off my skin. The droplets glisten in the morning sunlight; I see small rainbows in some of them.
My view of the world is wonderfully distorted as I breath. I was taught that it is most efficient to leave half the top of my head in the water to breath, which means that one eye is looking across the lanes under water while one looks at the world above. In reality the distortion lasts less than a second but in my mind’s eye it captures a life-time of moments. I see the lane ropes slip past quickly, the drops of water coming off my arm, the swimmers in the other lanes, the pool deck and the trees above. Sometimes, if the sun is at the right angle I can even see my arm reflected under the surface of the water at the same time as I can see it above the water. My lungs refilled with oxygen I drop my head back down and watch again as my hand re-enters the water.
There’s so much to experience while swimming laps. Sure, you can focus on the struggle of following the black line on the bottom of the pool or you can really experience the special moments that make up our swimming sessions. There’s nothing quite like spending time in the underwater world. There’s the light reflecting off the water and down to the bottom of the pool. There’s the way millions of drops of water make up the splash of a kick. There’s the sensation of water moving around our bodies. And there’s the delight of being almost weightless.
My warm up is 300m freestyle. My main set is 300m kick followed by 10 x 100m pull with 20 seconds rest between each. My cool down is 200m alternating between 50m breast stroke and 50m freestyle. My session has been easy because I’m in the recovery week of the first quarter of my 11 week pre-Byron Bay Triathlon training program.
I finish by taking off my goggles, closing my eyes and pushing myself off the wall with a few breast stroke pulls and kicks under water for 15m. With my eyes closed I can really focus on how the water feels against my body and how my body feels moving through it. I enjoy the freedom of the play. It’s a rare treat because today the pool is empty (I’ve gone back to Springwood and there are 6 lanes open to the 6 lap swimmers left in the pool).