40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

Have I mentioned that I’m going to Iceland?

on May 26, 2012

Iceland mapMy long-anticipated trip to Iceland is almost here! I expect to visit several new pools while there and will try to keep the blogs posts coming. Before I take off, here’s some quick info about the trip.

Why Iceland? So many reasons, foremost being a swim meet that has been on my team’s calendar for years. I’m also looking forward to seeing the site of the world’s first Parliament, visiting the Blue Lagoon, and soaking in the Scandinavian-ness of the only Scandinavian country I haven’t been to. I’d mentally signed on to this trip ages ago, so it’s a happy coincidence for the 40 Pools Project that Iceland is a swimming mecca.

Are you going with anyone? My team has 74 swimmers ages 24 to 77 going, our largest-ever showing anywhere! There are close to 30 of us on my flight, which should be a fun experience in and of itself. Our coaches have put together an amazing roster of 41 relays.

What pool(s) will you be using? The swim events and water polo are all being held in Laugardalslaug (“The Pool of Pool Valley”), an indoor-outdoor pool complex that also has nine hot tubs. (Note to my teammates: If I fail to report for any relays, please search the hot tubs.) Diving and synchro are at the indoor Art Deco treasure Sundhöll Reykjavíkur (“The Swimming Palace of Reykjavík”). A pool called Vesturbæjarsundlaug (West Side Pool) is closest to where I’ll be staying.

What events are you swimming? My schedule is as follows (all long course meters). The swim competition is in the morning only.

  • Wednesday: 1500 free, 4 x free 200 relay, opening party at the Blue Lagoon
  • Thursday*: 400 IM, fly leg of 4 x 100 medley relay, Pink Flamingo competition (I’ll explain later)
  • Friday: 800 free, 100 back**, 4 x 100 free relay, 9:00 p.m. 250m open water swim followed by geothermal hot tub plunge
  • Saturday: 400 free
*I am not a butterflyer or an IMer. I’ll be glad when Thursday is over.
**One of my teammates is the former world record holder in the 50 back, and I’m in the same heat as her. So exciting!

The preliminary heat sheets show little to no competition in my age group, so I’ll try to get through those swims legally and really focus on the relays. If only I were swimming 100 meters more, I’d be doing the maximum amount possible.

What’s the meet? The meet is the annual championship for the IGLA league, which my team is part of. IGLA championships have been held in exotic destinations all over the world. Last year’s was in Hawai’i, and Copenhagen hosted in 2009. Alas, the only one I’ve been to was in the arguably less-glamorous College Park, Maryland, in 2008.

Where are you staying? I am swapping apartments with an Icelander who lives by the beach not far from downtown Reykjavik; Janet and Amanda will be staying with me there. The Icelander arrived in New York with her boyfriend yesterday, and as far as I can tell they are very nice people not likely to commit any serious crimes while living in my home. She is an actor, henceforth known as the Movie Star, and her BF tells me that we’ll be seeing her work on the plane. She is also in the confirmation e-mail from Icelandair that I received a few days ago.

Reykjavik is famous for its nightlife. Where do you plan to party? Um.

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