Every pool here is 4 feet deep, all the way across. No diving (obviously) or jumping is allowed. No one puts their head underwater.
I taught swimming lessons here for about half a second, and I was pretty surprised at the lack of swimming literacy.
So, yesterday, when I showed up at my public pool which 1.) is in Red Hook, just across the street from a community of housing project buildings, 2.) is improbably Olympic sized, and 3.) reminds me forcibly of the pool from The Sandlot, I was feeling pretty cocksure. I mean, just between you and me, I do have a beautiful stroke. I've worked on it for a jillion summers, made adjustments. Started breathing to both sides (every third stroke) like the pros do it (and if you think big time adjustments like that are easy to make later in life, you'd be wrong).
So, you can imagine my chagrin when I got about halfway through my second lap and realized I could no longer breathe. When I realized that I was going to have to be rescued, mid-lap, in four feet of water.
Swimming, just by it's nature, requires a different breathing rhythm. You can't just breathe willy-nilly, it has to be regulated, more controlled, and, as a result, every summer, I have to re-learn that rhythm.
But, I mean, generally, I can get through a couple of laps.
But, I'm going through a time of reduced lung capacity, which means slower runs, and, as it turns out, pausing frequently during swimming. Which is too bad, because it greatly reduces the amount of impressive flip-turns I get to do.
Those are real showstoppers.