Swimming Pool Stories: “It’s just the deep end test”

There is nothing I love more than swimming outdoors in the city in the summer. Really and truly.

I’ve been working away on Swimming Pool Stories, a series of microfiction I penned on the deck one of Toronto’s wonderful outdoor pools.

Monarch Pool
August 22, 1:25 p.m.

“You’ve got to stretch first. Limber up,” Dad insists. I wish he was wearing a normal bathing suit, not a wet suit.

“It’s just the deep end test,” I say.

Nancy spreads out all three of our towels on the cement deck as if they are duvets, up and flutter, up and flutter. There are three boys in the deep end that look like they’re in my grade having a cannon ball competition.

Dad windmills one arm around and around. “C’mon,” he says. “Swimming’s a sport. You don’t go at it cold.”

I move my right arm in a slow circle like I’m in gym class with a substitute teacher.

I don’t want to stay in the shallow end, but I have to take the deep end test¾two widths, there and back and then treading water for a minute¾to swim on the other side of the rope.

“You stretch out those hamstrings and then we’ll get a lifeguard to watch you,” Dad says.

Nancy looks up from the towels and Dad reaches over to touch his toes.

The far wall looks further away than my arms will take me and I hope the lifeguards are too busy to watch me try.

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