30 December 2009

Damn that imperial measurement system

I have never understood swimmers' disdain for short course yards. Who cares if the rest of the world doesn't do it, many if not most of our pools are 25 yards long and it really just matters if you beat the guy next to you (for racers) or what your total distance was (for lap swimmers).

Until today. Because today was a special day, we'll call it VM Day for Victory over the Mile Day. I swam a freakin' mile.

It wasn't easy, I had to pre-plan my self-trickery. I carefully counted out my normal swim distance with 12 sets of 100 for 1200 yards. All along I knew there was 500 odd more yards at the end, but I tried to pretend those weren't going to happen. When I got to 1200, I just told myself to do 50 at a time until I got to 500. Once I was there, it was easy enough to do another 50 and BOOM I had made a mile. Or had I?

I am very well aware of the peculiarities of our measurement system and that a mile is 5280 feet or 1760 yards. And I had just swam 1750 yards. It is easy enough to round up and that really would have counted in my book but it just kept eating at me as I stood at the side of the pool panting and gasping for breath that 10 yards more and I would REALLY have swam a mile.

But here's the problem, what is 10 yards in a 25 yard pool? I sure as h3ll wasn't going to swim 50 more yards for the sake of getting 10 more. And I wasn't going to swim 25 and have to walk back in the cold. And I really didn't want to swim an inch more than I had to swim to satisfy my mile.

So I made a crude measurement. The flags at my pool are wrong, they are actually 13 feet from the wall instead of 15 so that wouldn't help. About out to the ladder and back would be a touch over 5 yards I figured, but I'd go two strokes past that just to be sure. So I swam out, stopped, stood up, started again and touched the wall for my official mile.

Give or take a yard.


  1. Either way you win because "the mile" of pool events is 1650 yards... you actually overachieved this morning

  2. Nice work crazy dad! While I'm a little bit ahead of you in assembling the yardage, I'm still trying to figure out ways to do it all a little faster this year. By all means, please keep sharing any tips your daughter's coaches toss your way. Happy new year!