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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesdays and I: Why can't we just get along?

I went for a swim this morning before work in an effort to wake myself up and to heal my severely strained right hamstring.  (Origins of the injury chronicled here)  I took the right half of a lane occupied by a fifty-ish guy whose pace looked comparable to mine except that, unlike me, he was not dragging one leg behind him like a dinghy.  I didn’t even notice the swimmer in the lane next to me until he switched from freestyle to backstroke. 

As you may know, backstroke can be divided into two phases.  In the “catch,” your hand enters the water above your head—more or less directly in line with your shoulders—and then makes a sweeping motion underwater that propels you forward and brings your hand back to the surface near your hips.   The “recovery” stage happens above the water.  Keeping your arm straight, you raise it out of the water in a semicircular motion that starts from your hip and proceeds directly in line with your shoulders.  The second phase ends when your hand hits the water again.  Most coaches describe proper hand placement here by reference to a clock.  Assuming your head is noon, your right hand would re-enter the water at 11 and your left at 1.   

I didn’t see my neighbor’s recovery phase with my own eyes; however, based on the width of his catch—which I did experience firsthand—I know his hands didn’t enter the water at 11 and 1, unless his clock was designed by a cubist.  His errant right “catching” hand breached the invisible underwater border between our lanes and came to rest on my head.  A lesser swimmer might have stopped on encountering such an unexpected form of resistance underwater but he saw it as a rare opportunity to enhance his catch and gave a healthy push instead. 

I allowed this incident to pass without comment, recognizing that everyone is entitled to one free drowning attempt.  But when I passed him on the way back and he made a very credible effort to get to second base, I decided to get out.  Still, the swim stretched me out and improved my gait such that my limp would go unnoticed in plenty of places, like a pirates convention. 



  1. So glad to see the Tuesday Theorem hasn't dissipated with the passage of time!

    1. Not only has it not dissipated, it has gained momentum! I expect examples to appear here often. :)

  2. Congrats. Sounds like you're getting some action :)