Back to blog
Always Swim Alone
Share your work with family and friends!

It seems forever that I’ve been swimming alone. I’m a slow swimmer and don’t want to keep others from speeding away. I really only learned to swim when I turned fifty. I started training for a triathlon. I joined the TriClub at the Y. The coach said we’d do a few short triathlon events, then train for the olympic race (yes, some participants saw it as a race…not me) in Santa Cruz. Sure, why not, I agreed. I had no idea what I had to do for training. I had to buy a wet suit because swimming in San Francisco Bay had its challenges: like water temperature of 58 to 60 degrees. I had to train at a place called Aquatic Park. On Sunday mornings. Sure, why not. My swim coach (well, the team’s too) was Pedro Ordones. I approached Pedro at the signup. He was my size, about five feet two inches.

“Should I join the TriClub and train for the Santa Cruz meet?”
I asked Pedro in a whisper. I didn’t want the other younger women and men milling about the signup table to hear the fear and trepidation in my voice, my hesitancy about all what I had just heard we’d have to do outlined by the head coach Shannon. The YMCA is a big yawning open high-ceiling place that echos the grunts and bangs, high fives, guffaws of exercising humans. The walls were painted bright colors right down to the laminated blond hardwood floors that probably hid a spring-board floor for jumps and ball spikes. A paper clip laid on the floor by the table. Sweat scented the air. My jaw was both slack and tense at the same time. Pedro always has this squinty smile in his eyes. He word a colorful knit cap with circles swirling around, red, blue, green, orange as if he’d just come out the that 60-degree bay. I’d mentioned that I just learned to swim in the Letterman pool a few months earlier, not describing how I just learned to swim by pushing my body into the water.
“if not now, when.” he replied, following up with “si se puede!”

Moment Poem
Each morning I walked along the malacon,
men peacefully fished staring out of the blue-green water.

Leave your comment...