Saturday, 7 September 2013

Contemplation: ~~water baby~~

I think it’s safe to say I’m not a natural sportsperson.

I’m uncoordinated, boss-eyed and klutzy. I once generated a huge round of applause in PE at school when, unexpectedly, I caught a ball.

Due to some quirky developmental difficulties, I didn’t start walking until ... well, quite late for a small child. And yet, now as an adult, I love long-distance power-walking (see: this post).

Likewise, I didn’t learn to swim until I was six or seven. However, I had a thing for pretending to be a deep-sea diver in the bath and submerging myself beneath the bubbles and the water whenever the opportunity arose.

After I’d mastered the rudiments of swimming, I took lessons in the local pool every week – though in retrospect I think this was more for my mother’s benefit than mine (the instructor was a dish). But I love to swim.

I love the water. Always have done. (For what it’s worth, I’m a water sign.) I love pools. I love the open sea.

{via Pinterest}

Admittedly I can’t do much more than a sporadic breast stroke, and I still have trouble co-ordinating a) arms and legs and b) my breathing, though I’ve found that nose clips help me focus my breathing through my mouth.

Nowhere is more peaceful to me than beneath the water. I love the glimpse of the waterline as I drop down beneath the surface.

{moi, 2004, on Instagram} 
I love the scale patterns of the light through the water on the bottom of the pool, or on the sea floor through a clear patch of water. 

When I swim I love the movement of bubbles around me, and around the other swimmers. I love the other-worldliness beneath the water.

{Photo by Jvdas Berra | via Pinterest}

After all the excitement and build-up of the MoonWalk, I stopped distance-walking regularly – then I got to a point where I realised I needed to get back into some form of exercise. My metabolism ain’t what it used to be. That said…

Ten years ago I was a complete swim-fanatic, swimming before work or during my lunch hour.

{another one from the annals!}

See how proud I was to clock up those lengths? So proud. Yay 25-year-old me.

Fast-forward 10 years.

Give or take a year’s grace, I’d almost forgotten how much I loved to swim, to clock up length after length, and that resistance of the water against me (though not so much the waves of water from other swimmers that sweep into my nose and mouth, and the splashes of inelegant front-crawlers…!).

So I started swimming, once or twice a week. Then three times. And so it has been since the beginning of July (with a two-week leave of absence when the Powers that Be at my local pool saw fit to undertake essential maintenance during the hottest period of the summer).

Back then I was clocking up just 30 lengths of the 25-metre pool, sometimes even just 20 if I’d had a particularly exhausting day.

Then, for my birthday in mid-July, my best friend bought me a waterproof MP3 player and it has truly revolutionised my swim. It’s this model:


It attaches to your goggles and the earphones fit in your ears much like ear plugs. The sound especially beneath the water is superb. There is a risk of losing some of your swimmerly mindfulness but provided you wear decent goggles and keep your eye on the lane then you should have no problems.

Last night I clocked up 72 lengths. That's over a mile, y'all. Then I got foot cramp. And some girl decided to change the lane direction so I kept getting other people's waves in my face. *complainarama*

In terms of kit, I’m currently sporting Speedo Pacific Storm goggles:

though I preferred my previous Zoggs Athena goggles which I accidentally tumble-dried… The thinner strap was far easier to attach the MP3 player to:

I'm also rocking a Zoggs cap:

...Speedo Endurance swimming costume (though without the excessive make-up...)

… and Speedo noseclips! Foxy.

What more could a girl need in the water…?

Currently, my top 5 swimming tunes are:

In the Deep | Bird York
Seaside Woman | Paul McCartney
Full of Grace | Sarah McLachlan
Long Hot Summer | Keith Urban
Underwater Love | Smoke City

This is changeable however, depending on what comes up on the shuffle.

When I'm swimming, for the most part my mind goes elsewhere. Sometimes I'm consciously counting the lengths. Sometimes I'm singing along in my head to the music. Sometimes I'm working up storylines and untangling plot holes in my own writing.

Next thing I know, I'm up to 50, 60, 70 lengths. Whoa.

Do check out: - my 'Swimspiration' playlist on Spotify here
- my ‘Swimspiration’ Pinterest board here
- and my 'Beside the Seaside' board here

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with zis little gem:


  1. I haven't been swimming years! I can't wait for my holiday where I can be back in the sea! xx

  2. Enjoy! Nothing beats sea-swimming! xx PS Just going to check out your blog -- love its name already!