There are a lot of us out there – the lapsed swimmers. Former club and college swimmers who burned out after all those years of before-dawn practices, missed social opportunities, dry skin, enormous appetites, and general exhaustion. We walk away from the pool that last time, thinking “thank God that’s over.” We’ll never go back to kick sets or goggle marks, suit hickies or bashed in fingers from your paddle-wearing lane mate with the wingspan of a California condor. No more coaches hollering at us from the deck, and no more lungs burning from devilish hypoxic sets.
But for many of us, as we go about our daily lives at work and at home, the call of the chlorine is too much to resist. Before we know it, the pull of a former addiction has overcome us, and we’ve drifted mindlessly back to our old ways. If you’re afraid that you may have a problem and that you’ve been sucked back into the deep end of a lap pool, here are a few warning signs to look for:
- Your chlorine reddened eyes cause your boss to ask oblique yet probing questions about your feelings towards recreational drug use.
- The person in the airplane seat next to you idly wonders who got carried away with the bleach on their last load of whites
- You start digging up old meet results to see exactly what your splits were in your best events. Not that you’re comparing.
- The guy you’re dating casually sends you an email with links to chlorine removal products for hair and skin
- Your coordination returns to aquatic-based default settings; i.e., you bounce off of doorframes, run into corners of desks, trip over trash cans, and walk into plate glass windows (this didn’t actually happened to me recently. Please ignore the swollen lip and bruised ego…they aren’t relevant here.)
If any of these sound like you, I’d like to say there’s help out there for your recovery, but honestly, I can’t be bothered to help you find it. I have to go to bed early so I can get up before dawn to go swim.