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Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.

From The New York Times:

Her Parents Thought Swimming Lessons Were a Good Idea

Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.…

Former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

Good video about former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka


The the Pool at Last, and Oh No! A Problem!

I was one of THOSE people tonight. You know, the type who know that the pool closes at 9:45, so they show up in a suit at 9:25? My daughter, who was watching a very old man tread water from her lifeguard stand when I walked in put on a happy face and waved. I approached her very professional like. “Can you hold my glasses?” I asked her, “Or is that against the rules or something?” She made a face, I think. But by then my glasses were off and I couldn’t even see her face, let alone her expression.

I jumped in the water and tried to force the cold water shock away. I only had a little time to swim, after all. I started out my set. I have recently lost 9 pounds, so I felt the difference in my legs. They just take up less room now, and I wonder if they’re strong enough to get me through the pool. I also find the smaller bulk much less tiring during my laps.

I had finished my third length when my daughter met me at the deep end holding her buoy. I thought she was telling me to get out, but she had some tips on my stroke. I’ve developed some bad habits in my freestyle, like a lot of rocking from side to side, taking too long to breathe, and pulling my shoulders all the way back on my stroke. No wonder I get so tired swimming freestyle! My daughter tried to show me to pull my elbows back, like I’m pulling a bow on an arrow. She also directed me to pull straight out in front of me instead of whatever the heck I was doing.

I had intended to start swimming breast stroke right away, but I wanted to try out what she suggested. So I swam backstroke to the shallow end, where I started up on the freestyle taking her advice. I started off pretty strong, but soon returned to my old habits. I glanced towards my daughter in the lifeguard chair after that length, but I couldn’t see what she was doing, so that was a waste of time.

I had swum 200, and decided to move onto the breast stroke. My goal was to swim 500 before the pool closed. It takes me about 2 minutes to swim a 50. It was 9:43 when I’d finished swimming 450 total. I had just enough time, give or take a few seconds, to finish my goal. But I didn’t trust my freestyle to carry me in on time, and every other stroke is too slow. Plus, even with my blind bat status I could tell my daughter was ready to close the pool.

So, with great trepidation, I left the pool, my goal unmet.

I’ve opened the Y before. There is nothing like looking at a pool full of still water and being the first one to part the waters. Closing the pool is a little like closing out a party, only more pathetic. I was the only person in the locker room when I heard a ‘get out of the Y warning’ over the PA. Then someone else came in briefly, but she left soon enough. I had the lobby to myself, too, waiting for my daughter.

We were walking out the door when the front desk person announced that the Y was now closed. I wondered how my daughter felt to hear those words every Monday night.

cross-posted at www.imswimming.net

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Comment by Rebecca Wear Robinson on September 29, 2010 at 12:40pm
I am so impressed you are willing to put yourself in cold water that late at night! I love to swim, but I still have to sit on the side for a minute before taking that first plunge. The hardest is on cold, dark, snowy Chicago mornings.

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