Sunday, July 27, 2008

How Big Should My Pool Be?

This past 4th of July, I went to workout. Apparently only people competing in fun-runs - and me - work out in the early hours on the 4th of July, for I found I was the only person in the 50 meter pool for an entire hour. It was nice, but I sort of considered it all a bit more than I needed.

Now jump forward to the next week. I'm on vacation at my usual summer spot on a lake in Wisconsin. My routine is to get up early before everyone else and do my swim and then enjoy an early morning relaxation period on the pier watching the wildlife (birds, fish, children) wake up around the lake. I'm usually the only person out until about 8am, save a random fisherman from time to time. But this year was different. I was joined on the lake by a man who daily rowed around the lake in a streamlined rowboat.

One might think that a 1,500,000 square yard (310 acre) lake would be large enough for two people. One would be wrong.

The particular morning of this story, I stepped out on the pier and prepared to jump in for my swim. I like to swim straight out across the lake - something that one can't comfortably do in the middle of the day when there is lots of watercraft. Looking out, I saw the rower skimming across the lake. I took comfort in knowing from prior days that his routine was to row parallel to the shore. With my routine crossing his routine path only once as I would swim out to a float and then across to the lake's center where there is an island. He wouldn't come near me. Just before jumping in, I looked out and saw that the rower was turning the corner and headed my way. He was still hundreds of meters away so I didn't give it much more thought and adjusted my goggles and braced myself to jump into the chilly water.

Upon jumping in I immediately proceeded into a freestyle toward the float and beyond, breathing only on my left (for the moment). I got out just past the float when what did I see not 10 feet off my left side and towering over my head but the rower, pausing to let me pass - his oars up out of the water. He looked out over his shoulder and directly down at me, but said nothing. I can only imagine he felt a little bit of fortune - as did I - for not sending me to the bottom of the lake.

How he got to my spot so fast from across the lake is beyond me - he must really go fast. How we happened to come to the same spot in a 310 acre lake is also a little too weird to comprehend.

I am just glad he saw me - or rather heard me. Had there been any wind, he might not have and plowed right into me.

This past Saturday - back home again, the weather was inclement and again no one else was swimming at the 50 meter pool. This time, I was glad to have it all to myself. I knew it could never be too big.

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