Tuesday was the first night that I went to run in the pool this summer. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of crowds. Now that we’re into the first week of summer holiday, a lot of kids have no real bedtime so it was quite likely that there would be a lot more of them at the Y than during a school night. Also, it’s been really hot in southern Ontario so I figured that the pool would be insanely busy. I played it safe and aimed to get into the water at 8:30, after swim classes were over and around the time when most kids should have been heading home.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I walked onto the deck and saw about 20 women in 3 or 4 lanes (I tried not to count – or stare) as they waved their arms around during what I thought was the end of their aquafit class. As the music seemed to be too “pumped up” to be the end of any fitness class, I asked one of the lifeguards when it was over. 8:45; 20 minutes away. “Great,” I thought. “It’s a good thing I have my swim cap and goggles. Now I get to do some lengths while I wait.” My thoughts were full of sarcasm since doing lengths was really the last thing I wanted to do. But I did – maybe 500 metres worth – until the music softened, signalling the end of Aquafit.
As I walked on the deck to my bag to trade my cap and googles for my running belt, a group of boys catapulted into the pool running area. I figured they were about 13 years old and as I counted them (yes, I did count this time), I recognized 2 from school. The group was trying to hide in the top corner of the pool, laughing away. “Really, guys?” I thought as I took out my buoyancy belt. The names of my two students were being yelled loudly by their friends, without a doubt to draw attention to them and embarrass them, but the boys’ giggles had already done that for them. I shook my head and laughed. “Just what I need – the boys I taught to see me in a swimsuit.” I had a flashback to my Grade 8 year when some of my friends talked about seeing our geography teacher water skiing – in a bikini [gasp!]. I figured I was safe in my one-piece speedo. The buoyancy belt, though: that was sure to be a conversation piece. I had never been more grateful that cameras were not allowed on deck.
I climbed into the pool and started to run. Within a minute, all six of them swished past me and headed back to the security of the wading pool at the other end of the deck. I was safe to run on my own.
I’m pretty sure that I’ll see kids from school at the pool again this summer. That’s one of the joys of teaching in the community you live: you run into kids and their parents a lot. And now it has given me a new superpower; I can clear a section of a pool just by standing in it, leaving the whole area to me.