Saturday, May 12, 2012

Swim like a fish

In two weeks time I'll be running in the Sundown marathon in Singapore, inaccurately named on two counts: it starts at half past midnight and I'll only be running 21 kilometres, but if Singaporeans want to display some imagination in their names for things, who am I to discourage them?

Today I went to pick up my race number at the Expo Centre; like every other expo centre in the world this is a sequence of warehouse sized rooms stuck in the middle of nowhere, with one room filled with t-shirts, embrocation and people giving out bags full of random stuff to people.

While we were there we were invited to listen to a free talk by a Fishlike swimming instructor. My first disappointment was that he was a Fishlike swimming instructor, rather than a fishlike swimming instructor. Rather than flopping about on the stage, flapping his fins and gasping, he strode up and down, explaining about how economy and efficiency of stroke.

His message was diluted by the expo organisers not bothering to turn off the music during his talk, so all this explanation of not thrashing your arms was muddled in with a constant background blare of Katy Perry. Still, what he said made quite a lot of sense; use gravity and bouyancy to aid your forward motion, not hinder it. Find a stroke that's relaxed rather than requiring constant straining. Sadly, despite telling us he would teach us how to swim like fish, he never revealed how we'd be able to overcome not having gills or a swim bladder.

Or that you can't get around not wearing trunks in the municipal baths just by claiming to be a tuna.

Still, I'm tempted to give it a try, especially as I can hardly swim more than five yards without giving up. Well, I say 'swim', I mean 'thrash my arms and legs as hard as I can and hope', which is roughly the same, right? I suppose if the Fishlike method worked, in a few weeks I'd be able to devour B-movie actresses like a piranha, hide in small tins like a sardine, provide omega-3 oils to pregnant women like a salmon.

My wife, as with all self-improvement schemes, is somewhat sceptical, thinking I should take swimming lessons first, instead of committing to spending nearly 300 dollars with a man who is confused about what species he is. But what would the point of that be? I'd only end up learning to swim like a human, after all.


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