By: Blonde Two

I’ve never been much of a racer. Although my mind is open to the idea of being at the front, my body seems to have settled for bringing up the rear. The only activity in which I’ve ever managed to gain a modicum of speed is swimming. Don’t misunderstand me. Despite being convinced I could swim in the Olympics when I swam my first length at the age of nine, I’m no athlete. When I completed the Outdoor Swimming Societies Dart 10K swim, I started off almost at the front and finished almost at the back.

All of which means that my sudden desire for a swimming race the other morning came as a bit of a surprise. I was on the home straight, heading genteelly back to my start when I noticed a chap just ahead of me. Several things indicated to my Blonde brain that he was a ‘good’ swimmer:

  • He was wearing a black swimming hat
  • He was swimming front crawl
  • He wasn’t splashing too much

I usually glide along in a mesmerised state of underwater bliss but for some reason Mr Black Hat’s presence brought back memories of the days (about 20 years ago) when I used to annoy the splashy blokes at the indoor pool by swimming faster than them. My competitive streak reappeared as if from nowhere. I was determined to beat this chap back to the steps (it didn’t occur to me that he might be heading somewhere else).

I stuck my head in, got my breathing organised and upped the pace of my strokes. My shoulders started to ache, my tummy muscles tightened, and it wasn’t long before I could feel my heart working. We were both swimming ‘uphill’ (against the current) but I started to gain ground. The temptation was to keep looking up but I knew it would slow me down. I was in a race but he wasn’t. Which is probably why I did eventually manage to overtake him, just before the steps.

I emerged triumphant. No medals or applause for me, just my own satisfied smile.

I’ll probably never find out whether or not my fellow swimmer knew he was in a race but I saw him again today… and didn’t catch him this time!