Swimming for Putney-Bridport
A few days in lovely Lyme Regis. For most of the five days the mature sun won its battle with its bosom pal ,the season of mists. Then it was hot enough to sun bathe, walks up and down the seaside hills with their heartbreaking views of the bay ended in a healthy sweat. Good days. But first the swim.
Nearby Bridport is famous for its Palmers beer, its historic rope industry, its market and….. that’s about it. In Hardy’s novels it is referred to as Port Bredy. But for my purposes it also has a Leisure Centre with a six lane, 25 meter pool.
So on our last wet day it was there I went armed with my Bondi Icebreakers speedos and my Adidas goggles. It started well. The receptionist at the till at first refused to believe I was over 60 and deserved a concession. Later in the day we were asked at the cinema whether we wanted an adult or a senior ticket! It made me feel good, was she fishing for a date? I had no time, the mother of my children was picking me up in an hour.
The pool ,modern with the Foster style of making a feature of its pipe work. The changing room large and clean. But the pool an absolute beauty. Only six people in for this mid morning session and no one in the fast lane. Swimming alone in a public pool gives a feeling of wonderful luxury, like walking all day on the Downs and not meeting anyone, being solitary in Richmond Park.
What makes a perfect swim? The temperature of the pool-, Goldilocks. Lack of people so you can do the laps with out a break or worry about others faster or slower. The goggles fitting perfectly first time, no stopping for readjustment. Hitting the groove quickly.
Maybe the last is the most important. Since swimming laps is essentially boring , the first few of 30-40 lengths are mentally excruciating, how can you possibly put up with 30 minutes of this? How?the machine gets into gear and you hit the groove, the place, the spot. You go into a trance and as long as all the other possible interferences are absent the swim can become almost eternal, infinite.
So it was at Bridport. The perfect swim, while at Putney the pool is staffed with often grumpy Poles here in West Dorset the flower of England’s youth were ready to dive and save. A perfect swim