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new swim buddy

So, I’ve been (making my best attempt at) swimming at the Y three mornings per week. The experience is humbling, to say the least. I’m slow and awkward. People twice my age pass me up. But it’s still fun, and I like not sweating.

On Wednesday, I overheard some ladies griping about people doing water aerobics in the lap lanes. Were they talking about me? Sometimes I stay in the deep end and do water jacks and XCski moves. I make a special effort not to get in anyone’s way. One of the lifeguards asked me if I wanted a flotation belt, so I’m sure what I do is kosher in a pool sense.

I’ve seen people walk in the shallow end, so perhaps that’s what frosted the other swimmers’ shorts. Regardless, I felt a little self-conscious when I slipped into the water this morning.

I shared a lane with (as usual) someone who can actually swim. My moment of triumph today was making it across an entire length without having to flip onto my back to gasp for breath. As I was finishing my last lap (using a kickboard), I noticed my lane partner at the end of the lane, relaxing.

“I hope I’m not in your way,” she said to me. I decided she was a kindred spirit — she seemed friendly — and we started to chat. We exchanged names and talked about our swim routines. Turns out she was at my level when she started out. “I could only swim three lengths, and I was done,” she told me. I was encouraged when she seemed impressed by what I’m doing. It makes me think I might actually be able to swim for real someday.

Anyway, I know another swimmer now. I had seen her before. She has white hair that she wears spiky and short, and she looks to be in terrific shape. Yay, a new role model!