Since my flash fiction piece was less than what I had hoped for, I whipped up a 500 word tidbit about my swim today. Rather than a character's voice, you get me :)
So, enjoy! (or ignore)
...and yes, my second swim of the day will be much shorter.
I love swimming 'til near exhaustion in Kawkawa Lake. It's not just the natural setting, the lack of chemicals and crowded bodies, or the laid-back solitude.
There's something undeniably satisfying about struggling against the elements, yet in a safe and secure location. I've been in this water since before I could walk. I'm comfortable swimming the length and breadth of it alone. I know where it's shallow enough that weeds will tangle around your feet, the rocky crevices where pinching crayfish and spiny bullheads hide, the deep drops where it's safe to cliff-dive, or flip head-first off the rope swing.
Unlike a pool with fixed conditions, the wind breezes lightly and barely rustles the water surface, or it rages down and whips up congested chop and whitecaps.
The current changes with the wind. When it's calm, you could be swimming through glass, like the water is actively holding its breath as you glide through it without resistance. When storm clouds crowd out the peaks and stand low and territorial over the opposing shore, the current is a lurking whirlpool, attacking from all angles and holding you static, no matter how hard your muscles pull and fight against the water.
The temperature fluctuates. Where the bottom rolls down silty shelves into a murky, jade abyss, it's as if the hot water in a shower sudden turned cold.
There are boats, skiers, wake, docks, and sharp rocks. Less than a third of the lake has docks, floats, or approachable beach front you can safely rest at, if needed. Much of it is sliding scree, blackberry brambles, and jagged nests of submerged logs.
Most of the week, conditions have been ideal.
Since there are no marked lanes, like in a lap pool, it's common sense to swim with your head above the water, otherwise you could smash into a dock, or end up stranded in the middle of the lake. Also, if there are boats, you can easily see them, and stick one arm out of the water so they are sure to see you too.
The breast stroke is my preferred method if swimming, but I know, and don't care, it's not text-book perfect. I have honed my own repetition of movement which allows me to cut through the water without ever losing forward motion, and keeps me horizontal to prevent unnecessary drag. 99% of my body stays underwater, so I can swim with perfect silence, and barely disrupt the water's surface.
With wind, chop, and a tricky current, that smooth, efficient stroke is impossible.
I swim the length of the lake every morning in 50-60 minutes, approximately 2 miles. I neither dawdle, nor attempt to set any kind of speed record. My best time was 48 minutes. Today it took 83 minutes. When I was done, my muscles were cold, cramping, and exhausted. I could barely pull myself out and onto the dock.
Today was a good swim. Today I fought a worthy opponent, and I won.