Posted by Amy Baranski
Yesterday evening after speed cleaning the dishes I ran out the door and made haste for the #48 bus. Point of destination: Medgar Evars pool. Sadly, in the 12 years I've lived in Seattle I'd never been to Medgar Evars. Prior to this month, I'd never dipped my toe in any public pools around town. Lake Washington is my better known summer swimming hole. But the pools! I've underused this public resource for over a decade now. For shame.
I missed my bus.
Maybe it's the people I've associated with, who prefer natural swimming holes, or maybe I never asked the right question to the right person. But typically it's been easier to find sun worshipers in Seattle rather than swimmers. I can't ever guess why. I'm more the latter. I love the heat of the sun, but I'm not a fan of ultra violet rays. I'd rather be in the water than on land. My favorite all time place to swim is in the ocean. Wow I love the ocean. It's buoyant and there live wild creatures!
Fortunately another #48 came barreling down 23rd Avenue. I jumped on.
Most of the public swimming pools look funny from the outside. They are industrial and public and remind me of the Soviet construction we saw prevalent in Cuba during a trip there with my husband in 2008. Medgar Evars pool is most peculiar looking. Cemented and angularly institutional it isn't the height of welcoming save the murals depicting its civil rights era namesake on the building's cold exterior.
I went in.
The pool was hopping with teenagers. Now that I'm pregnant teenagers don't scare me anymore. Not that they scared me, but now I see them better, or maybe they see me better. Members of the Cascade Swim team crawled and backstroked in the pool, parents sat in the bleachers. A good looking young swim instructor worked with little kids in the shallow end. I made my way into the women's locker room.
Medgar Evers feels bigger than the Green Lake pool, although it probably isn't. It reminds me of the pool I swam in as a child. Within walking distance of my house I'd head there after dinner in the evenings for the public swim and practice and practice. For me, swimming came with work.
I was early.
So I got dressed in my suit and tried to take a stealthy picture of myself in the locker room. Major fail. I showered (a requirement before getting in the pool) and eventually headed to the deep end. Other aqua joggers gathered. No seniors. Just thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, and fifty-somethings. At least 20 people in total. We did not conduct the course in a circle as I experienced at Green Lake. Instead we went from one end of the pool the other. The workout differed too.
I was the only pregnant one.
While the other students worked on abdominal crunches in the second part of class the teacher made me jog, then run, then cross country ski. A woman looked at me, "I think you're getting the shorter end of the stick here." I smiled. This time my belt felt different, perhaps I had the wrong size. The result felt like treading water for 45 minutes. After class I chatted with the instructor. "I'm a horrible teacher. They make me do this class because I've been here for three years. I tell them stick me in the water with kids I'll do anything. I hate teaching adults."
I thought he was perfect.
There's an upcoming Aqua Jog class at Medgar Evers on Wednesday at 6:00 pm. See you there?