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Living my travel & aquatics dream

23 December 2021

Last night over a nice dinner out with my wife, daughters and parents, my second daughter asked the table, "If money were not a factor and you could do anything you want as a career, what would you do?"

I didn't hesitate, "Travel writer!" The Lonely Planet served me well in my youthful travels, while guys like Paul Theroux and Rick Steves were role models for a path I never took.

But, as reflected on my family's alternate life paths, ranging from archaeologist (my Mom) to veterinarian (my wife), I realized that, while I'm not pursing my dream for money, this blog attached to my 1,001 pools goals is my dream turned into reality. It's all the better since there's actually no need to make any money from this, just the pursuit for the pursuit's sake, all joy and no stress.

On Thursday morning, I got to bring the three aspects that bring the most meaning to my life - family, swimming and travel - together when my oldest daughter and I ...

ventured across the river from my parents' home in Midlothian to one of the coolest, smartest pool developments (I think) in the country, the new 50 meter pool that NOVA Swimming built inside the shell of an empty department store in a mall that was struggling to keep tenants in this ever-changing retail world.

This is a super-cool concept and a great example of re-using infrastructure, though the entrance is kind of hidden underneath a covered parking area behind the back of the mall. Inside, in additon to the 50 meter main pool are two separate 3 lane 25 yard warmer pools, a very robust swim shop and the usual complement of locker and change facilities. It's not super-flashy, but all the big money has been poured, quite appropriately, into a "showpiece" long course pool - 8 x 50 meter lengths with 25 yard widths, uniform 6'7" depth, excellent starting blocks in place at both long course ends and one side of short course, along with a pretty substantial set of basic bleachers:

What made our swim all the more wonderful is that the picture you see above is how we found it a bit before noon, in the middle of their 10am to 4pm open lap swimming hours. For $10 each, we grabbed lanes 4 and 5 and worked our way through a great 3,000 meter workout. To cap our workout off, we got on the blocks and raced the last 100 free from a dive, putting up not-to-shabby 1:06/1:07 times (given where each of us are in our respective training).

It was super-fun to train with Maia again, something I haven't done in over a year. Between spending this time with her and being in this fantastic facility, this was an exceptional way to cap off my pool swimming in 2021!


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