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shawn L underwood

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Flip Flops to Belly Flops
By shawn L underwood
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A parent versus parent swim event after our kids swim meet produces some admiration as well as guffaws.

 I know I have written about swim meets previously, but the swim meet parents provide such incredible fodder that I simply cannot pass up this opportunity.

After my friends and I suffered through a very loooong swim meet at Normandy Park, our friendly announcer said we were in for a treat. What? It’s almost 10pm, and I’m about to turn into a frosty pumpkin. Swim meets really take it out of me.

The parents from Gregory Seahurst pool and the parents from the Normandy Park pool actually want to have their own college-daze swim relay. I simply can’t believe that any grownup with a lick of common sense would want to squeeze into a skin-tight Speedo, and jump into a barely-tepid pool. A humiliating event to be sure. Well, for me it would be mortifying, maybe not for these studly parents.

Men and women dashed about looking for swimsuits and goggles from the older kids. Believe it or not, a total of six relay teams quickly assembled. Twenty-four adults dawned tight-fitting swimsuits and just as quickly wrapped towels about themselves. As I watched a few floundering adults, I mentally prepared myself for a possible water rescue. The stroke and turn judge from Gregory Seahurst and his wife said they were actually looking forward to the race. So much so that, “the judge” squeezed into my sons size 28 speed suit. I am not kidding. The judge is a fit man, but my son’s suit is stinkin’ small!

As the teams begin to line up, the announcer from the other pool blusters through the microphone. “Wait, hold on, we have a ringer in lane three.” I guess he doesn’t abide by the rule we always tell our young children. “No one’s keeping score Kipper, the race is just for fun.”

While this is not a photo from the impromptu “swim meet,” it is not dissimilar to what may have happened.

BANG— the starter gun begins the race. The belly flops commenced, along with some expert dives. The sides of the pool can’t hold the immense overflow created from the tidal wave of dives. We are witness to a water-follies of sorts, and by far the best physical humor ever. I’m just glad it wasn’t me in the pool.

Tonight there are some story-worthy swimmers. One fellow in particular appears to be in need of rescue. He has that peculiar style I’ve observed with beginner swimmers. Stroke, glub, stroke, cough, stroke. He holds his head above the water as he makes a valiant effort at the freestyle stroke — and then he tried to do a flip turn. In my opinion, flip turns require acrobat-like skill. Claps for him. His flip turn looks very similar to mine — the body in a crooked position with legs kicking water all over the place. Sort of like an upside down fountain. My friend Susie, can’t contain her laughter, I myself am simply speechless. This swim-challenged participant is remarkable, and such a good sport. He was the “anchor” for his team — in hindsight, perhaps not a suitable position for his abilitites. I really feel for him, that could be me, if I were brave enough to participate and if the side-stroke was an option.

What ever happened to the old swim style of the “side-stroke?” Now that was a winner stroke. Effortless, you could keep your face out of the water as your legs preformed the scissor kick practically on their own.

Ahhhh, the good old days.

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