16 November 2009

Jinxed Pool

Chopstick had her first bad meet in almost a year this weekend. After one race, she actually complained that she felt “slow”. I can tell you this isn’t typical; usually her worst times are about 0.2 seconds slower than her personal best. This weekend, she had 5 events where she was 1 to 3 seconds slower than her best time.

There is only one logical conclusion: the pool is cursed. Nothing else makes sense. It wasn’t all bad, she had 3 personal bests but even that statistic is misleading. On her 50 back, she dropped 0.59 seconds and she needed to drop 0.60 to make a JO. On her 100 back, she dropped 0.77 seconds, but she needed to drop 0.97 to make a JO. Think what would have happened without the pool being jinxed.

This is where my “practical” side comes in. I am a very logical, solution-oriented person. Think Spock with a longer wing span and attractive ears. I can’t send my daughter out to a jinxed pool to swim, I need a way to combat this. How do you fight fire? With water. How do you fight bad water? With good water.

So the obvious practical solution is to get a couple of jugs, take a tour of the Bay Area’s luckiest pools (starting with those where she got PRTs), and take a couple of scoops of water from each pool. Bring a bit of that water to a pool which we believe might be cursed (I’m looking at you Soda Aquatic Center in Orinda) and fight bad energy with good.

My first thought was dump a couple of ounces of fast water into their pool but Homeland Security might raise an eyebrow at the weird Swim Dad pouring liquid into a pool before a meet with hundreds of kids. Next idea was to dump a cup on her head before every race but then I pictured how Chopstick would react to that during the upcoming winter season and nixed that idea. So, we decided that she’ll just splash a tablespoon or so on her suit and hands before each race as part of her ritual.

Now I just have to talk the poolkeepers at Mills, Chabot, and Walnut Creek to let me have a gallon of their pool water without getting arrested.


  1. JO is a time standard that qualifies a swimmer to swim in the Junior Olympics (not as incredible an achievement as they make it sound). Age group swimming is full of incremental performance goals, JO and FARW being two of the cool ones.

  2. Why not take her swimming at one of the PRT pools, bring her wet suit home, drop it in a jug of tap water and let it steep like a teabag? Of course then you'd have to explain to your wife why there's a swimsuit sitting on the kitchen counter in gallon of water but something tells me your wife won't even ask.