This attempts to take the reader through an experience that may be unfamiliar. Describing an activity from the point of view of the possible 'first timer' and how they could feel. The approach is presumptive and highly subjective.
Completely focused, you stand looking towards the far end of the swimming pool disappearing into the distance along the tunnel of vision created by the lane floats. Competition always places you against your peers and the anticipation and excitement feels almost overwhelming as you hear the crack of the starting pistol. You push off with one foot from the stand, and taking a deep breath, valiantly try to fly through the air like a dart cutting it with your fingertips. Without thinking. Just a reflex, though falling towards the silent and undisturbed water, slipping into it as smooth skin enters a silk glove. Sensual and almost erotic.
You glide underwater and after a few moments begin to rise. Breaking the surface in a torrent of rushing water, the noises of the crowd become mixed with the sound of the water being thrashed and without even taking a second breath you reach ahead as far as you can to slide your hand into the still water, gently and firmly curling your arm 'over the barrel' then sculling outwards before sending your fingers downwards towards the floor. As your arm continues in the circular motion you then push hard and fast behind you as you roll sideways already reaching far ahead with your other arm ready for the next stroke all the time working your legs hard, but still looking down at the centre-line of the pool floor tiles.
In what seems no more than a moment and several snatched, but efficient breaths, you approach the other end. The tumble turn is automatic, and with your feet together, you push hard against the wall as you rotate to face downwards again. With a combined dolphin kick and entire body-wave, you snake several metres under and through the water with only a rushing sound passing your ears. You are momentarily aware of the sensation of absolute peace and completeness while in the mayhem above you the disturbed water crashes around unseen. You then surface to notice your arm move over your head as you take another rapid, yet very controlled, breath. The end is in sight coming ever closer with each stroke and you become aware of other moving shadows for the first time.
A final touch and it's over.
© Louis Brothnias (2008)