When I was a new member to the YMCA, I experimented with different times for my swimming workout. My hope was to track the times when the pool was less crowded. This past weekend my strategy was to discover if early Saturday morning was one of those docile times.

This was an educated guess. Afterall, who gets up early on Saturday morning to exercise? Doesn’t everyone want to sleep in for the first day of the weekend?

Boy, was I wrong. The swimming pool looked more like an oversized washing machine. Not only that it was in the high level agitation cycle.

I slipped into the water. It was cool and refreshing. OK, it was highly chlorinated but at least it was warmer than the 29 degree temperatures outside.

My first push-off the wall sent me gliding into my morning regimen. Each stroke was steady and smooth. Each breath was timed with the rhythm of my digging into the water for propulsion. The wake forming off of my head assured me that I was pacing myself correctly.

After my first lap someone called to me with a heavily accented voice. Looking up an elderly man asked if he could split lanes with me. Of course I confirmed that he was welcome to jump in and share the lane.

We passed each other a couple of times when a new challenge emerged. Another swimmer had jumped into the lane. We were headed for a collision.

We both pulled up and wiped the water from our eyes. He also was heavily accented in his voice. With wild hand gestures he motioned for a counter-clockwise circle swimming. Nodding in agreement I was off to try to finish my routine.

When I turned at the end of the lane I heard a very animated conversation. Our new lane sharer was talking forcefully with the other swimmer and directing him to swim in a circular pattern. There was a bit of an argument that soon died down.

But, every time I passed the 3rd swimmer, his strokes were wild and wide. He hit me almost every time we passed. Twice he kicked me with his unconventional leg pattern.

Yeah, I persevered.  All my laps were completed. I felt unusually invigorated. Not only did I swim for a half mile, I also was able to say that I had done it concurrently with a boxing workout.