Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lightning: A Swimmer's Friend

Lightning shows look amazing when
you're not scared to death in the pool.

That split-second of light can be life-changing for a swimmer. Lightning is the only weather condition that can cause practice to be canceled for swimmers (if your pool is outdoors). Given any other circumstance, we practice rain or shine. People ask, "You guys still have practice when it's raining?!" And the answer is simple: yes, yes we do. We're swimmers. Rain makes you wet. We get wet regardless. Therefore it doesn't matter whether it's raining or not. Unless - there's thunder and lightning. Why is that the only reason we can't just keep swimming? Because everyone in the pool would die if lightning strikes the water. However, practice is only stopped or canceled if the lightning is extremely close and in a position that it could harm us. In other words, the thunder has to quickly follow the lightning, or practice won't be stopped.

This morning on my way to practice at around 5:30 AM, my mom and I saw two flashes of lightning so my mom told me to call my coach. What did he say? "There's no lightning over here, so we still have practice!" When I finally arrived at the pool there was another flash of lightning. Walking to the pool deck I asked my coach, "Did you see the lightning? Do we still have practice?" He said, "I didn't hear any noise [thunder]! We'll wait 10 more minutes and then start practice." Despite my desperate pleas to the weather, there was no more lightning or thunder in the next ten minutes. So we got into the pool. And, of course, right after we got into the pool, there was a flash of lightning, and a faint sounding of thunder, but we kept swimming. By that point, I was scared. It's one thing to be scared in bed during a thunderstorm, but swimming in a pool during a lightning storm brings the scariness to a whole new level. It's life-or-death danger. I could have died! After numerous flashes, finishing warm-up, and starting a parachute set, my coach stopped me after the first 100 yards and says, "Sarah, get out!"

My first thoughts were, "What did I do wrong? Was it my pulling or my kicking? What was wrong with my technique this time!?" Then I realized it had to do with the weather and I joyfully hopped out the pool thanking the lightning for working its magic on my coach. We only had to swim for about fifteen minutes! With smiles on our faces, the rest of the swimmers got out after me, and we all got to go home early. All of us were thinking: Shortest. Practice. Ever!!! Immediately after we all piled into the car, the real lightning show started. It was as if it had been waiting for us to get out of danger so that it could fully unleash itself. The whole car ride home was filled with spectacular flashes and bolts of light that outlined the sky in an amazing fashion, followed by the powerful rumbles of the thunder.

Although personally I love swimming in the rain, lightning adds a slight hazard. If it is just raining, I normally enjoy the feel of the frigid drops pounding down on my skin. The stadium lights around the pool illuminate the rain and make the normally clear air look way cooler. Today was different. I was actually scared I was going to die out there because my coach refused to let us out at the beginning. BUT it allowed us to get out of practice early today - and anything that gets swimmers out of practice is always welcomed with open arms as a life-long friend.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa Sarah, that must have been one of the most scariest experiences ever. I'm glad that you got out just in time, because, your coach must have really been passionate to make you guys swim in thunder and lightning. Haha, I'm glad you're safe and sound and that you had an amazing experience. As Dory would say "Just keep swimming!" I love your blog by the way!