When I was young I loved to read, and ride my bike and swim, and swim, and swim. In fact I pretty much lived to swim.
Our town only had an outdoor swimming pool so in the late Spring I would anxiously wait for rumours of when it would open. And oh! When it finally did I would race there on my bike because I was lucky enough to live in a town small enough and safe enough to do so.
I would hang around impatiently as Mrs. Hansen, the head lifeguard, unlocked the doors. My friends and I would then rush to the change room. Once swimsuits were on we’d urgently stash our shorts and t-shirts rolled up in towels in the wooden cubbyhole shelves outside on the pool deck.
At last, we’d get the go ahead to leap in.
The pool bottom was sky blue with black lane lines. Eyes open, looking up through the water at the surrounding trees, it was a magical wavy world. We’d water somersault for hours – forwards, backwards – even sideways. Handstands in the shallow end; flips and dives off the board at the deep end.
At last, the best part of the day would arrive…swim club practice…the chance to swim the full length of the pool with no middle rope to dive under or push over. The feeling of moving through the water, buoyed by my own pull, push and kick – freedom, strength, happiness – that was the feeling. Even today it is.