I tend to exist about half an hour behind wherever I want to be at a given time, or so one of my best friends once pointed out to me. Annoyingly, he is absolutely right.
Splash! The first few strokes are slippery smooth as I glide under the water. Sometimes I try to swim the first length without surfacing, but this can make the next stage feel worse: the dreaded second and third lengths. These are the stiff ones. The change of state from land to water literally drags on my limbs, and I feel out of place, a fish out of water in the water. more But there is nothing else to do than keep swimming, and by the time the third or fourth lengths are complete, I am starting to feel at home. By the tenth length, I am fully immersed. I concentrate on cycling my awareness, alternately focussing on breathing, kicking, my hand breaking the water’s surface, the tumble turn. I am so submerged that a kind of primal brain takes hold and I am not swimming anymore – I am the swim.