I went swimming this morning. They say that swimming is like riding a bicycle: once one knows how to do it, one never forgets. I don't know when I last rode a bicycle, neither do I remember when I last went swimming (I definitely remember 2007 in Santorini, but I may have swum since). But it's true: once I hit the water, I could swim! Even my timing (breathing, etc) was fine.
I'm rarely at home when the pool is open (save weekends), and when the opening hours are suitable, it's generally far too hot. So I have to pass on this form of exercise. A few days ago, I read that the pool will be open on Saturday mornings at 8:30 am for 'health swimming' (adults who swim lengths), so I bought a new pair of goggles (which seem to be too small) and waited for Saturday.
I was the second person in the pool, but it rapidly filled up - there were about 15 people swimming when I left, and that's enough if everyone is swimming lengths. The water was the perfect temperature for swimming - not too cold, not too hot - and once in, I confidently struck out for the deep end, swimming breast stroke. The first length went easy, but about a third of the way through the return length, I realised that I couldn't keep up the same pace. I finished the length then rested for a few minutes.
I managed to swim six lengths interspersed with breaks whose length increased every time. After I had finished - when I had no strength left - I got out of the pool and sat by the side, breathing heavily for about ten minutes. I'm not used to this strenuous exercise, although I imagine that if I go every week, it will be easier.
It's now two hours since I finished swimming: my breathing has long returned to normal, but I can feel the results in my arms and legs.
I should point out that when I was young, I used to swim frequently, at least once a week. When my children were younger, I used to take them to the pool a few times a week, and of course I would take the opportunity to swim. But they've grown up, I've got a dog (with whom I walk) and I've had a history of BCC - so I don't swim anymore. The early opening hour on Saturday now gives me a chance to swim regularly again.