Lap Swim Relay Race and Award Ceremony

So last night was the award ceremony for the NYC Parks & Recreation citywide lap swim contest. It began with a relay race which didn’t go at all as I had expected.

First, I didn’t want to race in the worst way. I wanted to look nice for the dinner afterwards, not like a wet rat. But I agreed to do it and that was that. I put my suit on and psyched myself up.

I get there and 2 of the 4 swimmers for my team have not checked in. You think I’d be happy. I don’t have to race! But no. I successfully got myself all excited and ready for this and now I want to race. I run around. I find one of the swimmers, and then a substitute for the one I can’t locate. “Swimmers take your marks!” We’re in lane 1 and I volunteer to go first …

Because I’d run around corralling my team I didn’t get to warm up. It’s just like any exercise and especially any race, you need warm up in order to perform. Well, too bad for us. The whistle blows and I’m off.

I’ve never swum in an olympic-size pool. I swim with all my might but pretty soon, because I haven’t warmed up, my arms start to go. I don’t want to waste precious seconds looking up to see how much further I have to swim, so I just press on, going as fast as I can. But I’m going slower and slower and I still haven’t reached the end. How much further can it be? Not there yet. How about now? Not yet. Oh god. Not yet. Not yet. Help!

I’d been so worried that I was going to be the one who lost it for our team and sure enough I felt like I was crawling in at the end. When I finally made it to the other side I looked around to see badly I’d done. I wasn’t last! There were at least a couple of people behind me. “What place are we in so far??” I ask, all thrilled that I hadn’t come in last. No one could tell me. In the end, I couldn’t find anyone who knew. Not one person on my team had even kept track!

No one cared. One person on my team swam at a leisurely pace, one person did the breast stroke, the slowest swim stroke of all the swim strokes (I found out later he got a cramp and that was all he could manage, so good for him for even finishing) and one guy tried, but he didn’t pay attention to how we placed either.

So I’d been swimming for the slacker team. Had I known I would have been a lot more relaxed …

This whole thing was about two contests. One was to swim 25 miles in two months, and for that you got a tshirt. The other was for who swam the most miles the first month and for that you got a trophy. There were two divisions at each pool, the “early bird” and the “night owl,” and each of those divisions were further divided out into male and female. I was in the women’s night owl division at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center because who can swim miles at 7 in the morning?? (I just looked at the program, there were more than twice as many swimmers swimming in the morning division!)

I came in 3rd place at my pool with 19 miles. The picture below is Anna Jardine. She came in 1st place at my pool with 54.36 miles. Since that is not even humanly possible I decided Anna must be swimming both mornings and nights to add up those kind of miles. Turns out I was half right. She was swimming in the mornings alright. In the morning division she swam another 57.39 miles for a grand total of 111.75 miles!! MOTHER OF GOD!! She is not human!!

There were super-duper trophies for the man and the woman who swam the most miles in the city and of course Anna easily won the super-duper trophy for the women. The man who won, Gary Weeks, only swam another 8.25 miles, which is not a comment against Gary Weeks, just saying. But congratulations to you both, well done visiting aliens …

Here is my 3rd place trophy. Bleecker is curious …

I want to thank everyone from the NYC Parks & Recreation Citywide Aquatics program. From start to finish this whole thing was non-stop fun (okay, except for one week when I was tired, but that’s not the program’s fault!). I had such a good time. Seriously, this is the best contest I’ve ever been in, and all the people who worked in the program were so nice and wonderful. I learned from the ceremony program that the city has been holding this contest for 31 years! Well, I hope I get to be in it for 31 more years.

In the cat world, what cannot be explained must be bitten. Here is Bleecker, testing to see if my trophy is edible because if not, it must be destroyed. I’ll try to get a picture of me in my tshirt later. (I rescued the trophy.)

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

10 thoughts on “Lap Swim Relay Race and Award Ceremony

  1. Stacy! You won a trophy!!! and it’s a great-looking trophy, too, as Bleeck can certainly see (and feel). Also that was a compelling post. So much suspense!

  2. Firts place trophy: a bit over the top. Don’t want to say garish but . . . you know what I mean. Third place trophy: Elegant, refined, classy. You’ll put it on your shelf, and in the middle of the winter, you’ll look up at it and smile inwardly with satisfaction. Really, a great accomplishment. We need to find some way to harness your determination to solve some major problem like world peace. I’m impressed.

  3. Wow, just catching up with your blog. I envy you not only that win, but also your daily swimming exercise. I’m to the point where only swimming or water aerobics are choices for exercise — arthritis, back/knee problems.

    Unfortunately I can’t swim, and believe me, I’ve tried to learn…but an accident when I was young (nearly drowned) instilled a horrible fear of water.

    What a great contest and fun, as well as exercise. Congrats!

  4. I feel your fear. I can’t get on a plane anymore.

    You could do water aerobics, I think. The ones I’ve seen don’t involve swimming, unless you don’t even want to get into a pool.

  5. Yes Stacy…congratulations! And I agree with Dan…your trophy is very tasteful (and tasty too apparently).

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