Week 4: The undersea of tranquility

Dominique McMullan: ‘I’m slowly developing an addiction’. Conor Pope: ‘Things appear to be much better’

 

Dominique McMullan: ‘I’m slowly developing an addiction’

This week I miss a weekend session, mostly due to a late night. I realise I’m slowly developing an addiction to the feeling of being submerged in a pool as by the following afternoon I find myself itching to be back in the water. I’ve never felt this way about the gym, and it got me thinking about the differences between the two environments.

The first is the noise. Unlike the “un-z, un-z” soundtrack of a gym floor, a pool is silent. Out of the water all you hear is splashing. In the water you’re alone with your thoughts and the sounds of bubbles, the rest of the world ever so slightly removed. After a session I hear the cacophony of shouting instructors and europop from the gym seeping into the changing room and it feels like parallel universes are sitting side by side.

The other big difference is that you are almost anonymous in a pool. Disguised by your goggles and hat, with 90 per cent of your body submerged, the self-consciousness you can sometimes feel while exercising is obliterated.

Finally, in a pool, you are literally cleansed. An hour in the water leaves you squeaky clean and warm from the inside. This opposed to the sweaty, icky feeling you may get from a gym floor.

Peace, bubbles and anonymity; what more can you ask for?

Got swimming tips for Dominique? Let her know @BobbleheadMo 

Conor Pope: ‘Things appear to be much better’

There has been something of a breakthrough. I’d not like to overstate the extent of the scale of the breakthrough, but after a bad week last week, things appear to be much better in the water.

A training session on the Tuesday sees me covering 15 lengths of a 25-metre pool in about 30 minutes. Now, 15 lengths is 49 short of what I will need to swim, but it is 14 lengths more than I was able to do four weeks ago.

Apart from being somewhat adrift of where I need to be in terms of distance, I am still struggling to breathe properly and I swim very slowly. If I can get from one end of the pool to the other in less than a minute, I am doing well.

But at least I have something to work with now. A day later, I manage to swim 20 lengths; but my crowning glory is when I swim into the back of the swimmer ahead of me in a particularly congested pool. This is an able-bodied swimmer and I appear to be swimming faster than they are. When we both reach the end of the pool, I apologise for hitting her flailing legs with my flailing arms and she says “Jaysus, you were going like the clappers there.”

I’ll take that.

There’s a lot done. But there’s more to do.

Got swimming tips for Conor? Let him know @conor_pope

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