Yesterday I completed the second and final part of my 2012 One Hour Swim challenge by doing the swim in the 40-44 age group. John Jay Pool hosted 8 heats of TNYAers and guests pushing it to the limit for an hour. Volunteers from our charity partner, the AIDS Service Center, were out in force to cheer (note the orange pom-poms, upper left) and provided post-swim treats, acupressure, and massage. Expert counter Janet kept my tally and made kickboard signals exactly as directed.
I’d conceived this as a race between my 39-year-old self and my 40-year-old self. Funnily enough, the latter swam exactly 40 fewer yards. Being a pool connoisseur, though, I realize that the pool must be considered a player as well. Columbia, which hosted my Hour earlier in the month, had the advantage. Although John Jay’s greennees is slowly fading, Columbia has superior hydrodynamics, visibility, water temperature, and bottom-of-the-pool entertainment. Plus, during my Columbia swim I had my own lane and the chance to watch a regular workout, with sprints, across the lane line, rather than being in a pool full of Hour Swimmers slogging away. Regardless, I’m happy with the effort and am already looking forward to trying to improve upon my 40-44 PR next January.
My heat was the first of the day, and I stuck around the rest of the time to catch up with friends, count for other swimmers, and generally support this inspiring event. It was the last one that Conrad directed for the team, as he is stepping down as head coach in March, and I will miss him. Here’s hoping that next year he will get to experience the event in the water rather than on the deck.