And these have nothing to do with a swimmin’ hole.

I am not a terrific swimmer, but because it’s a form of exercise that does not hurt my knees, I have kind of learned to enjoy it. For the past few years, my former job at George Mason University gave me access to a really great swimming venue at the university’s natatorium (Michael Phelps once swam there!), which had not one, but two pools: this one for the big dogs, like my high school swimmer nephew, and this one for the regular folks. 

Of course, in the summer, I was able to pop in the lake, which is pretty great. But sometimes you want those lane lines, particularly now that it’s cold. And never fear: our membership at the Franklin County YMCA gives us access to a lap pool so I can go flap my arms around from time to time. But things are different here:

  1. You need to want to get there. The pool is at the Y in Rocky Mount, and it’s a solid half hour of driving to get there. That’s in the morning, on those winding roads, with less-than-patient drivers behind you. One foggy morning I timed the whole thing wrong and ended up trying to combine my swim trip with a trip to the dump, which didn’t open until 7, so I just drove around with nasty cat litter in my car, looking for a trash site and feeling sorry for myself.
  2. Once you’re there, the pool is yours. At Mason, in the community pool, you had to share a lane most of the time (and there was one guy who, if you asked to share, would look around to see if there were other lanes he could suggest to you). At the Rocky Mount Y, you might get quite a way into your workout before someone even shows up to swim in one of the other lanes. You can actually Rule the Pool.
  3. The pool is kind of tiny. Just three to four lanes, depending on how they have it set up. But it’s 25 yards long, which is enough for anyone.
  4. The hot water consistently works in the shower at the Y. I could not always say that at Mason, particularly after the high school swim team blew through there.
  5. The locker room scene is very different. In the mornings at Mason, the locker room would be packed with high school girls, showering, changing, and loudly talking about important high school topics. In Franklin County, modesty is the name of the game. There are many more changing rooms available, and the only person changing in front of a locker is me, hoping not to shock anyone.

Finding a pool in which to grab some laps has gone a long way to making me feel like my life is “normal,” even in a new place. Who knew that goggle eyes would be so comforting?

See you next week, Rocky Mount pool!

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