Last summer, our older in-ground swimming pool was pretty much closed all season for repairs (my husband, on weekends, when he had time or felt like it), forcing the residents (my family) to mooch off a neighbor or get our swimming fix elsewhere. Since I didn't want to make a pest of myself with my friend down the street, looking for other sources was the only other option. Luckily, a nice local club offered a web coupon deal, allowing my daughter and I to swim all summer for a reasonable price. Since the club offered lessons during the day, we used the pool after 6 p.m., and pretty much had the pool to ourselves and a few others who had also caught on. Including the guy who would get into the pool, close his eyes and jump in place. Yeah, that guy.
The benefits--well, anyone who swims can tell you. Ask, or just look at Michael Phelps or Missy Franklin. It's kind of addictive. It feels so good. Swimming engages what feels like every bone, muscle and connective tissue in your body. You can condition, tone and build upon your strength and endurance fairly quickly. During that period when we were swimming several evenings a week, I felt better. We stretched the membership as long as we could into the fall, before homework got in the way and a heated pool could no longer lure us on a chilly night.
Under the best conditions, that's what pool ownership is about for many people. Not just a status symbol, but a form of daily or weekly exercise in a private place, without the old guy who looks like a hairier Sean Connery percolating in the hot tub or the jolly jumper in lane 2. Whether that pool is a custom-built in-ground model, an above-ground you got at the local Big Box or another type of pool, if you maintain it and actually use it for swimming--it's a great form of exercise.
From the looks of our pool repair project, we'll be looking for another coupon from the local club--at least this spring. But that's OK: swimming wouldn't be the same without a peripheral glance at the jumper while I'm swimming down lane 4.