I swim because it’s fun and because I want to test what my body can do. I’m not competitive about swimming but I sometimes (secretly) use other swimmers at the pool to pace myself. I’m usually the fastest swimmer in the water and my stroke is very efficient. On the other hand, I’m lacking in my aerobic capacity relative to other serious swimmers in Austin. With one lungful of air they can do a lot more work than I can. I’m working on it.
There is one guy at my pool who I have dubbed Underwater Man. He appears to be around 70 years old and is a beast in the pool, eating kids whole and leaving teeth marks in the torsos of adult… just kidding. But for real, this guy’s lungs are astounding.
Here’s his deal: He shows up and is invariably in the lane next to mine. Underwater Man always wears a onesie bathing suit (the source of his power? hiding a small oxygen tank?) and tucks his silver hair under a swim cap. After lounging around the pool for a few minutes he does some sort of hyperventilation magic trick in the shallow end, then his hands go up toward the sky and… BIG breath! Underwater Man lowers himself to the floor of the pool and pushes off, gliding, gliding, swimming, gliding, air bubbles rising, staying along the floor of the pool, gliding. He swims the entire 100′ length along the bottom and slowly rises at the deep end, taking an easy breath and swimming the breast stroke back.
Today I tried to swim four miles without stopping. It didn’t work out (I caved at 3.2 miles), but Underwater Man was there and he outdid himself. He swam two pool lengths underwater on a single breath.
Who is this monster? I must find out…
*Technically he should probably be called Dynamic Apnea Man but that’s just ridiculous.