but I held my breath and I kicked my feet
and I moved my arms around,
I moved my arms around.” Loudon Wainright III
The Swimming Song 1973
I don’t know if it’s the same for you but I have some internal soundtracks that are task appropriate. For instance the Rod Stewart refrain “We are sailing” was a very good metronomic phrase for rowing. My soundtrack for swimming, as you may have guessed is “The Swimming Song” I don’t sing it every time but if I am in a new place or if it is a particularly difficult swim it helps to me to feel calm. I have sung this song since I was a young man and went to see Loudon Wainright III in concert.
For those of you who don’t know a wild swim does not involve a stroke that is more thrash than splash. A wild swim is about going out to where there is clean and for the most part safe water. It’s reclaiming those old swimming holes in rivers and lakes that have fallen into dis-use and enjoying the local amenities as people have done for centuries.
Cath and I have been adopted by the Accrington wild swimming group and we couldn’t be happier and I find myself singing it much more frequently. For the most part the A.W.S. is a group of people who on the whole say yes to fun and adventure, but more than that we support each other in our endeavours. In the last year we have swum in the middle of winter and the heat of summer. We have swam rivers, lakes and coastal waters around England and Ireland.
This year some of the group have taken part in the great North Swim and swam for a mile in open waters on Lake Windermere. I am greatly impressed by their determination and ability to complete these endurance swims. Next for our endurance swimmers is the Great Scottish Swim where a few will swim the 2 mile course. I am utterly in awe of these swimmers because at best I have completed the .6 mile swim at Brungerly bridge in a very sedate fashion. Of course this will help me rebuild some strength in my back and also lose some weight and for that I am very happy.
Next week we are going ice skating something I haven’t done since I was 12. I wonder will a song from when I last skated pop into my head. It was the summer of 1973 when I lived in South Bend, Indiana. A few songs that me and my friends used to listen to would include Money – Pink Floyd, Crocodile Rock – Elton John, Schools out for Summer – Alice Cooper.
Of course way down deep, in the secret part of me that I don’t let anyone know exists, I would be in a soul train grooving to Super fly or Pusher Man and Maybe Freddie’s Dead by Curtis Mayfield. It’s a pity I am a rubbish dancer.