Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Purpose for Swimming

photo from

I finally figured something out about myself this year. You see, I grew up swimming nearly every day. At a beach. Dad would come home after work, we'd grab our towels and off we'd dash for an hour or so and come home for dinner. And yet I have little enthusiasm for beach-going excursions these days.

As an adult, going to the beach has seemed like hard work. You have to go for the afternoon....and takes drinks, and snacks, and sand toys, and boogie boards, and the beach shelter and towels...and the list goes on. Over the years I've wondered why it has to be so tedious. Especially when, for the most part, it's not hot enough to swim anyway. Let's face it. Victorian ocean waters are the warm tropical waters I grew up swimming in. Here the water is icy cold. I can't bring myself to immerse more than my ankles!

This year I finally figured it out. I grew up swimming at the beach for an hour or so most days because we needed to cool off. It was HOT...and very humid. Once a week we had dinner at the beach with fellow missionary friends. On Sunday's it was lunch and often snorkeling on the reefs which were so close to shore. Again, though, it was hot and we enjoyed the cool refreshing water.

These days, the only time I swim is when it's so hot I can't cope. Like when the temperatures hit the high 30's (95F+). Because somewhere deep in my psyche, the purpose for swimming is cooling off. If you're not hot, there's no reason to swim. These days when I swim because it's far too hot, I still can't do Victorian oceans. Over our holidays I was able to enjoy a solar heated pool at once place, and the warmer water temperatures of a closed-off river. The ocean water over the sandbar was still too icy for me!

A walk along the beach when the tide is out ~ now that I could do any day!


Kez said...

We didn't grow up near the beach so beach swimming scares me. I do love a walk along the beach though!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I didn't start swimming in the ocean until a few years ago--like Kez above, I was always scared of it. And I don't so much swim now as play in the waves. The water warms up by late June, which is when we usually go, and it's delightful. Much nicer than the pool!


Tracy said...

They try and tell me our water warms up. I don't know....still feels like ice to me.

I used to get into the water and wonder if there were jelly fish, sharks, sea snakes, sea lice....when it's hot, you just deal with it I guess. If there were jelly fish, I used to sit in a rubber ring (aka inner tube from a car tyre) and float above them. Smart, eh.

GretchenJoanna said...

Yours is similar to my experience--loved swimming as a child, anywhere, but the summers were sweltering. Now we even have a pool, but the weather is cool, the pool water is cool, and what a lot of bother, to change clothes, get wet hair, etc etc.

Chookie said...

We hit on a solution to the afternoon excursion this year, as our boys aren't proper swimmers yet. We turned up to a Sydney beach at 5pm. We were able to park right at the beach! The water was warmer, the air was too, but the sun wasn't burning us to bits. After an hour, the kids had had enough, so they played in the park. Then we had fish & chips and went home. Lovely!