Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Duel in the Pool

It's no secret that Greta and I are pool rats. Any free time we can acquire together we love to head to the small island pool and pretend we are somewhere off on vacation. That is until the Blackhawks fly over head. If you and I have never met, I swam in college and it's safe to say that the pool is my mothership.  However, I rarely have the opportunity to get in some laps because of the testosterone overloaded Rambos who cannonball, chicken fight and splash their way through the water. I'd usually prefer not to draw any further attention to myself so I only break out the cap and goggles when the place is deserted.

Today was a different story.

When we arrived at the pool today there were probably about 25 people there which is decently crowded for this small outdoor facility. There was a military unit roughhousing on deck, probably about 16 guys and then a smattering of twos and threes, air force, army and possible a few civilians.  There were four women total among the pool-goers. 

We chose a spot next to one of the other women who was there sun bathing by herself and we proceeded to laze about the afternoon. It was clear however, that the arrival of two blondes was too good for this rowdy unit to pass up. The moved their belly flop contest to the ledge of the pool about 5 feet behind where we lounged. We got splashed every time they went in which was clearly the plan. After several splashes I weetly asked them to move which got some obnoxious grins out of them, but after another 5 or 10 min Greta made a sharper remark after being asked to "Give them a smile" and they retreated farther down the deck. They flirtatiously asked the girl next to us if they were bothering her and she coyly replied, "No, I'm one of you guys, I'm military" implying that Greta and my's prissiness was due that we were civilians. Grrrr that's cute honey

Well their next manly challenge became underwater swimming something that I excel at if I can toot my own horn. The guys were making a huge fuss about making it down the length of the pool and back underwater and of all 16 of them, only one made it. I was very tempted to hop in and show them a thing or two about the prissy Red Cross girls, but I refrained knowing if I participated there would be no peace from them the rest of our stay.

They continued to goof around and about the time Greta and I were dressing to leave they must of sensed our departure as they started up with the underwater racing again, only this time when one failed to make it he would climb out and flop on deck pretending to be dying while his buddies would be grinning and call for the Red Cross to perform CPR. Finally the loudest and biggest of them shouted "Hey Red Cross chicks, did we splash you that time?  I did two laps underwater, that's good right? Tell me that was good?!" Wait a second, Red Cross chicks?! I had to take the guy down. I turned to Greta who was already dressed and said "Would you mind?" and Greta turned back to the unit and announced, "Well fellas, Michelle here is going to show you how it's done." Well at that the entire pool stopped what they were doing and flocked to the edge of the pool. 

I stripped my shirt back off and tied my hair back tightly. I hopped in the pool and started breathing deeply, trying to slow my heart rate down as much as possible. The secret to underwater swimming is to move slowly and exert as little effort as possible, while keeping your heart rate low, and your mind under control. Unfortunately, my adrenaline was surging and I knew the guys would start razzing me if I didn't start soon, so I prepared as best I could and pushed off. I did the entire swim underwater with my arms above my head in a streamline while kicking dolphin kick. The first lap underwater was fairly easy.  As I approached the wall for the second lap I could hear cheering and yelling coming from above the water, when I hit that wall and turned for the third length I knew I should have been able to go four, but I wasn't warmed up enough. As I came up at the third wall all I could hear was silence. As I turned back around to the crowd at the other you could see these macho dudes were stunned. I swam back to the other end, where one of the guys reached out for my hand, shook it and then helped pull me out.

The once ultra-cocky obnoxious soldiers were stumbling over their words, "I- I've never seen anything like that", "How did you do that?", "How long have you been swimming?" It was really pretty hilarious, gone was the arrogant machismo and in its place was sincere disbelief.

I hurridly dressed while the unit continued to stare at me wide-eyed and as Greta and I proceeded on our way, the soldiers had apparently relocated their balls as they went back to roughhousing and wrestling and yelling after us "Wahoo!! Red Cross!!!"

It was one of life's sweet redeeming moments. 


Anonymous said...

i love this story. freaking show those guys what you're made of (plus put all those underwaters to use!)

michelle holleran :)

bikertom said...

Congratulations! Nice story, I'm proud of my fellow Red Crosser!