covid19 · fitness · swimming

Fish back in the Water: Bettina’s first post-lockdown Swim

You all, I am back in the water! As mentioned in my post on Saturday, my lifeguard club has started training again this week. Tuesday was our first session and it was… somewhere between glorious and very, very strange.

A picture of swimmers doing laps in a pool. It seems like it will be a while until my club will be back to swimming like that.

Glorious because we were back in the water after almost exactly three months. I have really been missing it, especially now that I can no longer run because of my pregnancy. It felt great to swim again and even though I’m noticeably slower (due to three months without training and being a lot less – what’s the water equivalent of aerodynamic, aquadynamic?) I’m pleased to report I didn’t drown. I felt a lot more graceful in the water than outside!

And this is where we get to the “strange” bit, because we spent a lot of time outside. Because of distancing regulations, and because our pool is very small, we can’t swim laps back and forth once there are more than three people in the pool. The pool has three lanes, so we swam up one outside lane, back down the middle one, and up the third. Then we’d get out, walk back to the beginning, and do it all over again. One thing that you definitely can’t get into this way is the flow that I love so much about swimming laps, which is a bit sad.

We also can’t:

  • overtake each other,
  • swim closer than two metres behind the person in front,
  • shower after swimming (we’re allowed to quickly rinse down before getting in),
  • have a conversation that goes beyond very simple instructions,
  • linger in the changing rooms,
  • walk around the common areas without a mask (unless it’s to go directly to the pool deck and get in the water),
  • and many more things that I’m currently forgetting.

It feels truly bizarre, and some of the rules don’t make all that much sense to me, like the not showering – I get that we’re supposed to minimise time spent in the common areas, but if we can shower before, surely we could at least wash the chlorine off after, even if we can’t take a full-blown shower? And the “no talking” rule, which is… impossible to implement among a group of people who are friends and in some cases haven’t seen each other in three months.

It also wasn’t terribly efficient in terms of actual swim practice. We swam about half of what we would normally do in a session, and because of the “no overtaking” and distancing rules, we swam very slowly.

It did feel safe. Between all the regulations in place and infection rates in our area being extremely low now, I was definitely comfortable.

Overall, I’m grateful to be back! But I do hope that we can get back to more “normal” training conditions soon.

Have any of you been back in a pool or practicing a team sport? Did you enjoy it? What were your regulations? If you can’t go back yet, would you if pools were to open up in your area? Feel free to share in the comments!

8 thoughts on “Fish back in the Water: Bettina’s first post-lockdown Swim

  1. Bettina, I’m so happy to hear you are back in the pool! Maybe a lake will be next (and less odd).

    1. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of lake swimming, at least not in the kind of tiny and often artificial lakes we have around here. I think North Americans have a different concept of “lake”. Ours are puddles and I find them dodgy…
      But I’ve booked myself a timeslot at the local public pool for Sunday, 50m lanes and limited access, so that looks promising 🙂

  2. I wish I was back in the pool… Health officials have added “pools and rec centers” to the list of approved things that can open. However our city is not ready to open them and it will be a minimum of several more weeks before we have more info. I miss swimming so much that I’m thinking about renting a $$ wetsuit for a 30min river swim next week.

    I too am confused by the “no shower after” portion of your rules.

    1. It’s the same in many places here – especially lots of open air pools have decided not to open for the season at all. We’re very lucky where I live. Honestly, think if I wasn’t pregnant I also would have bought a wetsuit. Unfortunately they don’t make maternity ones 😉

  3. How nice that you are back at the pool! I have been swimming outdoors because our pools are still closed. I was really interested to read about your lane protocol. It would be tough with my club since we have everyone from recent university competitive swimmers to seniors. Still, I thinks we would all do it just to get back in the water as a group.

    1. We had a similar problem with different levels in my group on Tuesday. There was a mix-up with the timetable so we ended up having some people turn up from a younger group and they were much slower. I didn’t mind too much but it definitely wasn’t ideal.

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