Wednesday, July 19, 2006

July 19, 2006: On Swimming

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And so summer swim team comes to an end. Our introduction into the world of the Flying Dolphins has been fantastic. As Dr. Hibiscus blogged earlier today, we are huge proponents of swimming. One of the first things my parents did when we moved from Southern Illinois to NY, when I was 18-months-old, was to join the Yacht Club Having been in a sea of cornfields and fruit trees for two decades, I guess they figured they’d try something new. They took sailing lessons and bought a motorboat. My brother Stephen and I swam every day at the Yacht Club while our older brothers sailed and skied. In the winters, I took lessons at the YMCA and later at the local college. Swim lessons in the dead of winter in upstate New York are not fun. College pools are notoriously cold, and hair freezes quickly while you wait for your dad to pick you up. Nonetheless, I continued swimming lessons for years and years and picked up sailing lessons in 4th or 5th grade. When I was in sixth grade, we moved from our house on Castle Street to our newly built house on Seneca Lake. From late May until September, we spent our days in the water. By this time we were all proficient sailors, and our little Sunfish knew the waters well and miraculously survived for many years. There’s nothing like a boat full of giggling girls on a hot summer afternoon except for a boat overflowing with boisterous boys. My friends and I were all about getting a tan; my brother and his friends had a different goal. They called it “skiddling”: standing on the nose of the boat to see how far you can “submarine it” into the water. Another favorite was to capsize the boat over and over. Like I said, we were all proficient sailors.

Swimming started in earnest in seventh grade. At a routine doctor’s visit, my pediatrician noticed I was showing signs of scoliosis. My curvature was nearly severe enough for the dreaded back brace. He suggested I join swim team, and so I joined my school’s junior varsity team. Within six months, my curve lessened by 15 degrees, and within a year, it was down to 6 degrees. When I read nowadays that swimming is the ultimate exercise, I believe it—with good reason. So my swimming continued through high school. We called ourselves the Pink Panthers (our school was the Geneva Panthers) and my relay team even made it to Regionals once. I loved almost every second of it, except for the practices. (Who loves swimming laps and sprinting for 2 hours straight?) But even practices were fun because of the joy of friendships.

I miss swimming. Like Randy said, though, it’s been fabulous to relive our swimming days through our daughter. I look forward to many more summers of the Flying Dolphins.

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