There’s a great pool not far from my work called Mirabella. Great outdoor pool with perfect lap times: 0700-0845 M-F. I get to downtown around 7am anyway, so walking to the pool is no biggie. I joined by paying $40 for the summer, in money order of all things (Boston Centers for Youth & Family won’t take cash, card, or first born), and got my laminated membership card. Did that Monday afternoon ready to swim laps Tuesday morning.
And that’s what I did. I arrived and ran into the men’s room, which was disgusting. Trash on the floor, chipped paint, gross shower area. That’s fine; I’ve got a gym at work so I can shower there. I’m here to swim anyway, I thought, so get on with it! Walked out to the pool and saw how big it is and what it is missing.
Beautiful water! Seven black lane lines. Long…50 meters? 25? Yards? Hmm… First thing I noticed was the lifeguard placing swimmers in certain lanes. Yep, no lane lines. But the lifeguard kept us in particular lanes. You either swam on a black line or in the space between. Unless it was Tuesday. According to the nice young lady, it was uncharacteristically busy. So she stopped two older folks and told them to swim circles with me, down on the line and back in the blue space. There was a moment of indecision and I thought maybe age would trump authority, when they both agreed and I jumped in.
The jump in ended before I expected. I hadn’t read the side of the pool (3 1/2 feet!). Looked deeper! And it was nice and cool, which I hadn’t expected. Figured it would be a typical public pool (“Ooh, think of the poor shivering children!”) and be too warm or even hot. But no, perfect. I started my laps.
And the far wall took forever. But not that long. Weird. This must be a 50 yard pool, if there is such a thing? Doesn’t seem long enough for 50 meters, but…who knows? Anyway, I kept on swimming.
What I noticed almost immediately was the wonderful bounciness of the water. Like open water almost. And the chance of running into someone else was higher, which I liked. I don’t know why, but I love the rough and tumble of OW, the running into other swimmers, the drafting. This was similar.
I set myself a cut-off time of 0800 so I could get to work, so as I got closer to that time, I started wondering how far I’ve swum. I kept track of my laps, but still couldn’t wrap my head around the length. So on the last lap I counted my strokes. Didn’t make sense. Way more than my typical 25 yard length but not far enough for double that number. How the hell long is this pool?
That was the first thing I asked the lifeguard when I got out. Her answer blew my mind: 42 yards. Uh, what? Gabriella, the nice lady I was circle-swimming with (along with hirsute Frank) said “Yep, and 42 lengths is a mile.” OK, that’s weird. But that at least explains my weird stroke count. So, one round trip* of my new summer pool is 84 yards. Add Mirabella to my embassy pool in Moscow (50 feet 4 inches long), my boss’s pool in Bishkek (7 meters long) and my pool in Bishkek (8 meters long), and I’m collecting quite an assortment of odd-length pools! Can’t wait to return to a SCY pool after this summer. I’ll feel so fast!