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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Chlorine and memories

Posted Monday, January 12, 2009, at 2:01 PM

Saturday was a special day for both my wife and me.

No, it wasn't our anniversary or either person's birthday. Those were all in the last two months and they went well.

Saturday was the West Central Conference swim meet at DePauw. Even though our high school is about 55 miles from here and has nothing to do with the WCC, that meet brought back a lot of memories.

You see, her dad was our swim coach. He coached me from the time I was seven until I was a sophomore. He coached Cole from probably as soon as she could walk until her sophomore year.

So we both grew up with the smell of chlorine, the itchy hair and the ear infections that come with way too much time in the pool. Sounds like a heck of a life, doesn't it?

But it was a good life. I think in the 9 years from the time I last swam as a high school senior and to last winter, I had forgotten how much I love swimming. I first got into sports writing for the more "obvious" sports -- football, basketball, baseball.

But swimming may have been my one true love as an athlete. It certainly was the only one at which I was remotely competent.

So, after falling back in love with swimming during last year's season, I moved back to the news side and had once again left it behind. But on Saturday, it all came back.

You see, Nicole was writing the WCC story for the sports section, and I volunteered to take some pictures so that Caine might have a less complicated Saturday.

So not only was I back on the pool deck, but I got soaked on the day's second event. It was a mistake only a rookie should make. There I was, crouching at the end of the lane before the best backstroker in the county's flip turn.

But anyone wanting to stay dry knows you should stand during that turn; that is, if you're crazy enough to be there at all. Apparently I have regained my rookie status, though, as I was soaked from the shoulders to the knees.

You know, that soaking had a weird effect, though. I felt like a kid again, walking around on the pool deck, slowly air-drying in all-too-humid air. As it dry, it began to itch and I started to think old thoughts.

I thought about furry rabbit hat and Indiana Swimming shirt I used to wear during swim meets. I thought about the long practices, throats full of water and leg cramps that were the downside of being a swimmer. I though of how much I loved the 500 (I still don't know why) and the breaststroke and hated, HATED, doing the backstroke.

And I thought about the shy coach's daughter with the big, sweet smile.

Then I thought about what memories she must have been experiencing up in the stands.

I hope (and believe) she enjoyed Saturday even more than me.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

You are a sweet guy. Cole is lucky to have you.

-- Posted by feelingroovy1103 on Wed, Jan 14, 2009, at 9:39 AM

this is so sweet! i love it, really. i hope some day when i go away from the world of swimming and come back it feels something like this. thats amazing. i hope i am one of the people who helped contribute to your soaking. (backstroke leg of the 200 medley relay, 100 free, 100 back, lead leg of 200free relay) it was great to see you back around the pool. hope to see you soon. thanks again.

kelsey murtagh

we love the water for a reason...to others some will never understand what the point in swimming laps for time is, but to the true swimmers, it's all beneath the surface.

hang tight!!

-- Posted by kelseymurtagh09 on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 3:35 PM

I'm glad you two can be back around the pool together again. Enjoy.

-- Posted by redhatter on Sun, Jan 25, 2009, at 9:00 PM

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Jared Jernagan
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.
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