Last Pool Training Swim

Thursday 09/16/10

Coach Valeriy Boreyko handed me a personalized pool workout schedule for the last time before I leave for England. Except when occasional business travel has interfered, I’ve swum at the USF pool every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 am since last November when Duke Dahlin first shepherded me into the masters program. Today’s workout was relatively light. A year ago, swimming 3,200 yards in a pool would have counted as a monumental occasion. Today, it was barely a blip on the training radar screen.

At this point, my new stroke is thoroughly ingrained and Coach Val is all smiles and thumbs-up. He regularly gives me a wry look after a workout and says in his Russian accent, “I want complain.” Then he breaks into a grin, shakes his head and says, “But can’t complain.” Today, he advised me once again regarding the importance of taking measures to stay well. He wished me good luck; we shook hands; and I walked to the parking lot with a strange sense of leave-taking. The feeling was not like I’m going to England for a two week vacation. It was more like I’m relocating permanently to South Africa or India or the back side of the moon.

From USF, I drove the few blocks to Ralph Wenzel’s bakery. He came out from the back in his white chef’s coat grinning widely. I told him how much I appreciated all of his support in helping me prepare for the Channel attempt. I also wanted him to know how much I enjoyed his company in the process. Ralph was his usual gracious self and agreed that it has been a profound experience and one that he will treasure for years. We talked a bit about how well the remodelling project is going at his bakery. We shook hands multiple times and he offered several forms of encouragement. Once again, the leave-taking bore an aura of momentousness and finality.

I guess this is the way it’s going to be. Until we head for the airport, most everything related to swimming is going to seem like a final big deal. Perhaps that’s fitting. Regardless of how it turns out, this experience has already been extraordinary.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Larry,

    I wish you all the best at the Channel! Go get it! It has your name on it! One stroke after the other. Enjoy it every single moment of it.

    Eddie Peinado