Friday, August 14, 2009


Last weekend, Friend-with-a-Truck and I decided to spend some quality time at the pool. It's not an ordinary pool. It's Lakeside Swim Club (click on the "history" part for some cool old photos), a former rock quarry that was drained of its fish and now operates as a Board-of-Health approved, 3-acre swimming pool, complete with twelve+ Oympic-size lanes, a floating island, copious amounts of frolicking room, and most importantly: diving boards. A low-dive (a little over 1 meter) and a high-dive (a little over 3 meters).

Friend-with-a-Truck and I like to spend most of our Lakeside time on the diving boards. Unfortunately, last weekend, we also had Friend-who-cooks-Pancakes with us. He's a BFF, and we like hanging out with him, but remember: he is what we lifeguard types call a "non-swimmer." I've been giving him lessons occasionally this summer, but he thinks too much, or is too aware of his own mortality or something, so he's not much fun in deep water. He had a really great lesson that night, however, and he jumped into the deep water from the pier and made his way back to the side without my help.

We were all impressed with this newly acquired skill, but when it was Diving Board Time, we left Friend-who-cooks-Pancakes to watch our graceful moves from the side of the pier.

The Diving Well was empty that night. It was just me, Friend-with-a-Truck, a 10-year-old I'd taught to swim years ago, and her mom, Kirby. We had the diving boards to ourselves, and we were determined to try some new moves. Or rather, new, OLD moves -- the dives we could do before we became aware of how stupid it really is to try flips and twists.

"I'll try an aerial-twisty-flip if you try a front flip," Friend-with-a-Truck dared.

"Okay," I told him. So I stood at the end of the board, trying to remember that one summer I was on the diving team, and just decided to throw my arms around my knees. And I flipped.

This disappointed him slightly, as he realized he had to try the aerial-twisty-flip.
So he ran off the board, jumped really high, and threw himself forward, twisting awkwardly, and landed both feet and forehead first, if you can imagine that. If you cannot imagine that, you are in luck because I always carry a video camera everywhere I go. Videos to follow. Maybe tomorrow.

High fives abounded, and we giggled and hollered, while Friend-who-cooks-pancakes sat on the sidelines sadly.

Even Kirby got in on the fun, trying to coax her 10-year-old into a back dive. She did some gorgeous swan dives and the 10-year-old did some gorgeous cannonballs. I think Kirby definitely brought the pointed-toes and grace to the diving team we decided to form that night.

Meanwhile on the side ... we decided that Friend-who-Cooks-Pancakes needs to jump off the diving board. He wanted to get in on the fun and was feeling brave. I got in the water to catch him. No sooner had I swum out underneath the board, did FWCP climb up, stare at me, and just walk right off the board with a look of determination I've never seen. Then he paddled to the ladder and climbed out. I didn't even touch him. We were all completely amazed, including the lifeguard, who had seemed reluctant to even let him go off the boards.

Obviously, I got out and insisted he try a dive. This is where his engineering background came in handy. Doing a dive is easy, IF you follow three simple steps. FWCP is fantastic when given explicit instructions, and he did the most beautiful dive off the pier.

He then immediately went to the diving board and dove -- yes, DOVE!!!! -- into the water.

Meanwhile, Kirby, FWAT, and I did better flips, back dives, even back flips, and decided that we should form an Adult Diving Team (again, videos to follow). FWAT is definitely the headliner, as his flips and aerials are quite possibly the funniest things I have ever seen.

The next thing we knew, FWCP's is asking how to do a back dive. At this point, we kind of stop the encouragement. It takes people years to do a back dive, and FWCP can barely tread water. "You haven't developed The Fear yet," FWAT told him.

"The what?"

"The Fear. The Diving Board Fear. You haven't wiped out. You don't know what that feels like to smack your shins or your belly or your face against he water."

But nevertheless, FWCP walks to the end of the board, puts his hands over his head, looks up, and falls back, and does a PERFECT back dive. At this point, even the lifeguard is cheering.

His next question was, "How do I get air between me and the board? I want to do one of those jump-up-and-dive front dives." I'm not sure what FWAT told him, but the final great moment of the evening was when FWCP walked to the end of the board, jumped up off the board, and ....... did a total belly flop, landing belly and face first.

Luckily, I caught that on video. The moment he acquired The Fear.


  1. That is totally cool! I CAN swim, and decently I might add, but I have wiped out a few times on the diving board end of things. I still have yet to do a back flip without totally hurting myself.