What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Olympic Training: Part 2

I awoke once again to the sounds of my Ipod, as I had so many other mornings. But this morning was different. I was not getting up for breakfast, or for school, or for a 4:30 swim practice - I was awaking for what was to be one of the most testing experiences of my life.

You, the faithful FCN few, must think that testing experiences are common-place for us hazard-ridden satire authors. While it is true to some extent that we often live every day as if it's our last, truly testing experiences (the kind that will smash toenails and grow chest hair) are few and far between. But you could figure that out just by looking at our chests.

The chosen swimmers, among whom I am proud to count myself, are required to be on the swim deck by 7:30, so, after another visit to the carb court, we trudged to the front gate of the swimming facility and got scanned in. With a buzz the doors opened and we entered an Olympic size (yes, state-of-the-art) indoor pool. But the buzzing door was not the only level of security. When we entered the building, we quickly became aware of all the video cameras watching our every move (or every bad stroke as it turned out). Surly Orwellian guards monitored us from video cameras in an adjoining room. The door of the room had a yellow sign showing a surly Orwellian guard above the letters XING.

The pool facility consisted of hallway and corridors encircling the entire pool. There were dozens of rooms for meetings (or swim conferences) that covered the two story building. The first floor, which is where the pool was, had a twenty foot ceiling, coated with more cameras covering every possible embarrassing angle.

The actual pool area consisted of cool diving blocks, a giant locker room with showers, "instant" suit dryers, a huge hot tub, lots of gear baskets filled with fins, paddles, goggles, inner tubes, noodles, and rubber duckies. As if all the upscaled basics weren't enough, the pool had an under/above water camera that followed a swimmer from every conceivable angle, just in case you were trying to steal an extra pair of goggles while you thought no one was looking. Even better, pulleys that could drag you from one side of the pool to the other allowed me to swim just short of the Olympic record for the 50 meter free. Something to write home about.

Two hours later, we finished practice. Feeling slightly tired and very secure, we returned once again to the carb court, scanned our hands, watched a few lame 007 moves, and began eating.

If the story ended here, you might be able to put this on an inspiring tales website. But the story doesn't stop here.

We had finally reached "the good part" of the movie (I'll leave to your imagination which part of Sean Connery is the good part) when various swim personnel came in blowing whistles and dragged us back into the pool. I had an emotional parting with my duckie, who said he'd never forget me as long as he lived.

The rest of the day blended into the oh-so-familiar process of swimming back and forth, back and forth, back and forth ... back and forth ... back ... and forth ... and forth ... and so on ... and so forth ...

By the time we returned to our beds at 7:00 pm, we were dead tired. Not too tired, however, to stay up a few extra minutes and write this post. Writing for FCN requires a special part of the brain not normally used for swimming, eating, or sleeping.

If I have learned one thing so far on this trip it is this: Olympians are not elite athletes because they train at a state-of-the art facility. Why they are elite athletes remains to be seen. I have two more days to find out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had.....an interesting time. Did you ever find out whatmakes Olymipians elite athlites?