I know that if I ever actually learn to swim properly, I'm going to join a Master's Team and go to meets. I can only have a goal of getting fit for so long before I need something more. I will probably never catch up to CK as she has such a headstart on me and is going to improve much faster. So I have to race other middle-aged men. Someday.
Right now, my competition is at the pool at 7A every morning. They're the same people most every day. I have to keep reminding myself that since they're actively swimming (and not stopping at the wall every couple of minutes) they don't really have time to watch me swim. So I can stealthily steal all of their secrets. So here's who I see every morning.
The Old Lady in Red: this lady always picks the lane next to me, usually about 10 minutes after I get there. She always stops at the hot tub first, sits there for a few minutes then walks up to the pool, hops in and goes without any delay. Then she just goes and goes, never stopping. I pass her, have to stop at the wall to re-inflate a lung, watch her do her turn, pass her again, and repeat the process until I'm half dead. I'm not even sure she's ever noticed that I'm there flailing around. She might be a robot.
The Masters Coach: this guy is also a machine. He swims most days after the Masters practice from 6A-7A. He'll have to make small talk and give advice to a bunch of the swimmers but when he goes, he goes. The dude is STRONG, when he's swimming it's fast and effortless with just really good form. Every once in a while he pulls out these crazy plexiglass paddles that tell him if his stroke isn't perfect. Those scare me. Oddly enough, he wears a red speedo just like the lady above. But I've heard him talk; definitely human.
The Chatty Guy: actually, he's chatty with everyone but me. Probably because I'm a newbie but maybe he's seen me swim and can't stifle the laughter. Actually, I shared a lane with him once...I'm faster but then again I have to stop at the frickin' wall all the time. I've also seen him drive into the parking lot; I feel safer knowing he's in the pool while I drive to work.
The Young Chick in a Bikini: she hops in the pool and then shoots across the pool at absolute full speed, kicking up water and not breathing once. On her second lap, I can see why she doesn't breathe, she pops her head up like she's doing breaststroke completely slowing her down. Then by the third lap, I see what's going on with the frantic strokes; she dinosaur arms her stroke, not reaching very far at all. I'd also like to point out that I'm not staring at the young chick in a bikini, she just happens to get there when I'm about done so as I catch my breath in the pool, I can see her swim.
The Super-Swimmer: this lady very quietly swims perfectly. She's usually two lanes down from me and it's just transfixing to watch. Like the Master's Coach, it's effortless and fast. Her flipturns are picture-perfect and she seemingly can go forever at a very consistent speed. Her workout is actually fairly short but I have absolutely no doubt that there are a lot of laps in that short amount of time. She's inspirational. Seriously.
There are a couple of other swimmers but they don't show up every day. I won't even get into the 6A to 7A crowd; if I get there too early, I hide out in the lobby until they're done. That's just flat out intimidating. I'm hoping to not get names for these people, I'll just refine the nicknames as I go. Until then, I wonder what they call me?