A Man and His Water: A Chlorine-Tinged Odyssey by
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Ah, swimming. That timeless activity – unless, of course, you consider the few unfortunate souls who haven’t yet grasped its aquatic glory. Evidence suggests most humans have been splashing around since the Stone Age, which, let’s be honest, is basically yesterday compared to the grand scheme of things. Here’s the kicker: even those toga-clad fellows in ancient Greece and Rome considered swimming a martial art. Can you imagine the intimidation factor? “Prepare to meet your doom, barbarian horde! I, Leonidas, shall vanquish you with a devastating… freestyle!”

Me? Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly born with flippers for feet. Unlike Michael Phelps, I didn’t emerge from the womb with a built-in breaststroke. My childhood consisted more of building elaborate sandcastle empires than conquering the high seas (or, more accurately, the kiddie pool). It wasn’t until junior high school, fueled by a potent combination of youthful bravado and the desperate need to escape a particularly soul-crushing philosophy lecture, that I decided to tackle this aquatic Everest.

The local indoor pool, bless its chlorinated heart, became my training ground. Picture this: an almost grown-up, flailing about like a particularly ungraceful sea lion, desperately trying to master the backstroke. It wasn’t pretty. But hey, perseverance is a virtue, right? Eventually, I graduated from the shallow end to venturing into the “deep end,” which, let’s be honest, was still only about chest-high. But progress is progress, folks!

Now, the question remains: where’s the best place to flaunt my (somewhat questionable) swimming prowess? The ocean? Absolutely breathtaking, but let’s be real, the constant threat of rogue waves and jellyfish stings isn’t exactly conducive to a relaxing dip. Lakes? Sure, if you enjoy the thrill of potentially encountering nature’s mystery meat – a submerged log, a discarded tire, and remember that fish piss in ponds and lakes (and the ocean.) For me, the good ol’ fashioned indoor swimming pool reigns supreme. Predictable (in the best way possible), clean (most of the time), and with a steady supply of chlorine-scented towels – what more could a swimmer ask for?

Of course, I wouldn’t be living the full human experience without acknowledging the many water-averse peoples. Look, I get it. The vast unknown can be intimidating. But let me tell you, friends, overcoming that fear is an achievement of epic proportions. Plus, think of the bragging rights! “Yeah, I used to be terrified of a little H2O, but now I can conquer swimming with the best of them.” See? Instant legend status.

So, the next time you find yourself poolside or shore-side, don’t be afraid to take the plunge. You might just discover a hidden aquatic talent, or at least manage a halfway decent doggy paddle. And who knows, maybe you’ll even inspire some poor younger souls to conquer their fear of swimming. Just remember, when it comes to swimming, the only true failure is remaining on dry land. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with the freestyle lane or a questionable outdoor tan line.



Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

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