Get Swimming: ‘I was a bit woe-is-me...they didn’t amputate my leg’

Malachy Clerkin: ‘We’re not so different, me and you, Mr Intercounty Footballer’

Sports journalist (and now swimmer) Malachy Clerkin now has something to tell Mr Intercounty Footballer/ Mr One Of The Fittest Men In Ireland. “We’re not so differenct.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sports journalist (and now swimmer) Malachy Clerkin now has something to tell Mr Intercounty Footballer/ Mr One Of The Fittest Men In Ireland. “We’re not so differenct.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Malachy (pretty proud) Clerkin

My one-year-old gets cranky sometimes, as one-year-olds will. She went to bed one night recently with two teeth and woke up with six. She did not, on the whole, take it well. But although it’s too early to expect reason or logic to feature in her complaints, I’ve taken the view that I may as well start off by telling it like it is. You never know, it might lower her expectations of us as we go.

“Do you know,” I said to her the other day, “things aren’t actually that bad. By any metric, you have a pretty good life.”

Like most women, she either didn’t understand me or didn’t care what I thought. Ho-hum.

I recall this only because I realised after my last diary entry that I had gone a bit overboard with the woe-is-me stuff. After all, I’d had one bad session.

Okay, one atrocious session. But reading it back, you’d swear they amputated me below the knee as soon as I got out of the water. That’s not the Swim Ireland way. Any more.

It’s been better since. Weirdly enough, once I took Peter The Coach’s advice and actually did the amount of training I was actually supposed to be doing, it all got a bit more tolerable. It’s almost as if he knows what he’s talking about.

Yesterday, I had to go to Westport to interview a footballer. Sports journalists are by and large a shambolic lot but we are nothing if not desperate for approval, especially when faced with actual sportspeople.

Put it this way, there isn’t a sports journalist alive who’d have been able to get through that interview without casually dropping into conversation that they were in the middle of Swim for a Mile training.

We’re not so different, me and you, Mr Intercounty Footballer, Mr One Of The Fittest Men In Ireland. (Please don’t let him have read last week’s diary.) I managed to get to the end but couldn’t resist it as we chit-chatted before leaving.

“You heading for the train?”

“Actually, is there a pool nearby? I might get in a quick swim. I’m doing this Swim-For-A-Mile thing...”

“A mile? Fair play, man. Jeez, I wouldn’t be fit for that at all.”

“Ah, you would surely. It’s only 64 lengths.”

“Sixty-four!? Not a hope, boy. That’s serious stuff.”

“Ah, stop.”

Pathetic, really. But I did go. I found the pool and paid my €8 (Westport, you chancer) and swam for 20 minutes before running for the train.

It’s true. Things aren’t actually that bad. I need to keep that in mind.

Pick your pool for Swim Ireland’s Swim for a Mile challenge in April. For more, visit swimforamile.comAnd if you are only getting started but want to improve your swimming, sign up to our Get Swimming course at irishtimes.com/getswimming in association with Swim Ireland

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