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Why I love Swimming? (Part 1)

Date: 11 October 2014

Why I love swimming - (Part 1)

(extract fm Jenny Landreth, the Swimming Blog)

 When I'm in the water I'm elementally myself, floating free of any worries, self consciousness or physical discomfort. 

I understand that for some people even putting on a costume is difficult, too revealing. The only thing I have to offer here is my limited and anecdotal experience, and for me it's key to the whole thing. It's this: nobody is judging. Or if they are, they're doing so silently. 

Pools feel egalitarian. It doesn't seem to matter what your costume is like; it doesn't seem to matter if you're old or young, big or small, if bits hang off oddly, or you don't have all of them. It doesn't matter what the past years have done to you. It doesn't matter what you've done or not done during those years. There will be nobody chasing you up and down yelling "but your legs are fat and your head's too small and you look …". Unless you pay them to do so, in which case you probably need help.

So I shove my costume on, stick my chin up and stand there, the same as everyone. And yes, OK, we mostly do all have our arms crossed. But here is my body out in the air, and no one is falling over laughing or turning away in disgust. We are all equal in a swimming cap, as I've been known to say.

I like the "c" word. Community. I'm part of a community defined by this one thing and nothing else. I swim with people I've known for ages, but I don't know much about them outside of this one thing. Identity is irrelevant. That can feel quite liberating. Am I a mother, a partner, a success or failure? Who knows. In the pool, we all just do what we're capable of, whatever that is. And once you're swimming, no one else is counting, no one muttering "she didn't do much" or "she's slow". We're all here, is what counts.

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