A little less swimming, a little more synching

Lesson: keeping five-year-olds afloat in swimming lessons actually keeps you in decent shape.

I’ve been coaching synchronized swimming for six years; I’ve been part of a club for 12 years. Being at the pool every week for anywhere from three to six or eight hours is nothing new to me.

It’s not like I was in the water for that entire time (though if there was an exhibition coming up, I can think of a couple of times we spent eight hours straight in the pool, desperately trying to nail down a routine last minute) but I’m realizing now it made a difference. Just like the year I coached twin five-year-old girls and would spend about an hour and a half treading water in the deep end apparently made a difference. My knees and hips hated me afterwards, but apparently it made a difference to how in-shape I was.

I haven’t really been in the water at all this year since I left the club I’ve always swam with, but with having weekdays act as my weekends, the pool schedule actually lines up quite nicely and there isn’t really a reason I shouldn’t be in the water.

Until I went last night and realized how out of shape I am. Understand that doing a full length of the pool completely underwater, without coming up for a breath once is not a challenge for me. Whipkicking hard enough to get my torso completely out of the water in a body boost is nothing new. Spinning upside down and kicking my legs into splits without sinking is something I learned a long, long time ago.

Last night, I walked out of the leisure centre and felt like jello. I got into my car and my left hip knotted; even now, if I shift the majority of my weight to my left, it does some complaining.

I don’t like this at all. I much prefer some kind of exercise that I can do without, thinking, I guess for lack of better word, or scheduling, I guess — now I’m realizing that the fact I walked 10 blocks to school every day (yes, every day, no matter the weather, except for a couple times in third and fourth year when I knew I’d be at school until four in the morning) also probably played a part as well.

The thing I want to know is, when did exercise become, well, exercise?


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