It never occurred to me that my life-long involvement with swimming might one day one lead to me writing a blurb for my masters swim team on that involvement. In fact it started innocently enough, maybe in 1947 as a 7 year old participant in learn to swim classes at the Brantford YMCA. Over time, that learning morphed into years of inter-Y competitive swimming around Ontario, fun summers of lifeguarding at a string of municipal outdoor pools and Lake Erie and northern Ontario summer camps.
And then, building I guess on that childhood initiation to the ”joys of swimming”, since the 1970s masters swimming has been an integral and fun part of my life, having been a member of teams, first in Ottawa with the West End Y Masters team, then with the Barbados Masters team while posted there, and for the last twelve years with the Victoria Masters team. As well, that involvement in masters swimming has pushed me in my middle years to get involved in both competitive middle -distance running and triathloning, first around Ontario, then internationally and finally in Victoria.
Ah, the highs and lows , the successes and failures, the wins and losses, the camaraderie and loneliness, the exhilaration and relaxation, and the routine and unexpectedness of it all. The memories are endless: (i) as a kid, contracting hepatitis from swimming in the Grand River on its passage through Brantford full of Kitchener sewage; (ii) in the early 70s, joining in with hoards of Russian tourists to swim in Cuba’s Gulf of Batalamo; (iii) going rafting and swimming in the upper Ganges River in India; (iv) plunging into a chilled High Commission swimming pool after finishing an exceedingly hot 45 degree New Delhi noon hour run; (v) assisting a deaf person to navigate a Kingston Ontario triathlon (vi) participating in a first ever half-marathon run through the historic streets of old Hanoi in Vietnam; (vii) camping and swimming below the thunderous Virginia Falls while on a canoe trip down the Nahanni River, (viii) training on warm Sunday mornings for the annual Thetis Lake swim; (ix) tubing with the swim team down the Cowichan River on a lazy summer Sunday morning; and finally (x) mostly ignoring the coaching tips of many a masters team coaches..
So now after an almost 15 year stint with the Victoria Masters and having recently earned the ultimate badge of honour – a heart stint and a smooth ticking pace maker – maybe, just maybe, it’s time to make the final transition (transition as in moving from one leg of a triathlon to another) from the Victoria Masters to the Silver Streaks.
Note: the attached photo was taken by fellow Victoria masters team member, Mike Bell, during the lunch break.