10 mile swim

It isn't far to swim when you have friends waiting at the end.

Leave a comment

On Kickboards

This week swimming at Westside, I have been reminded of a general truth about swimming pools: wherever you go, the kickboards have bite marks. I don’t understand this phenomenon; I swam for years as a child, and I’ve swum for years as an adult, and I’ve never wanted to bite a kickboard. But there are a lot of people in the world, and we all want different things, and it seems many of us want to sink our teeth into a piece of foam, because there are always bite marks, little crescents of tooth prints, along the edges of the boards.

Westside is a beautiful pool, recently renovated, but the kickboards are antediluvian; I imagine elephants and tigers swimming alongside Noah’s ark,¬†two by two, doing their kick sets with these boards, while waiting for the waters to recede. The kickboards at Furman are newer, and I have a favorite kind (yellow, slightly flexible); some of them have had “R.I.P.” written on them in black Sharpie to make them look like yellow tombstones, which is not completely unfunny. Maybe for my grave I can have a yellow kickboard tombstone, with my name and my dates and bite marks along the edges.

Every pool I’ve ever been in has had kickboards for swimmers to use. But when I went to the Kroc Center a few months ago, I couldn’t find them. While I was looking, a lifeguard approached me and told me that I could get a board at the desk. The board they gave me was hard plastic, shaped like a small shield. I liked it a lot, because it floated low in the water (you want your kickboard to be low in the water, so that it isn’t aggravating your shoulders; there’s a man at my pool who kicks with two kickboards in a little stack, and I wince for his shoulders when I see him). Anyhow, I have ordered myself one, and I will soon be one of those posh swimmers who bring their own kickboards to the pool.

It seems to me that I could bite on my new kickboard in times of rage, and I would look like the Lewis chessmen berserker.


US Masters Swimming is running a postal competition during the month of December, the 400 Kick for Time, where you get a friend to time you in your own pool and you kick the fastest 400 yards you can, no fins. You send in the time via a website (the postals are postal in name only these days). Winners get universal acclaim; everyone gets a t-shirt.