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The Quarter Century Goal?

29 March 2024

When I turned forty and somewhat offhandedly set this intention to swim at least 1,001 meters in 1,001 different pools before I died, I didn't quite realize how deeply engaged I would eventually become in pursuing this goal.

I believed it would compel me to get out of bed very early in the morning at home and on various trips (vacation & business) to add new pools, but I didn't recognize how compelling this pursuit could become. What started as a casual ambition has morphed into a positive obsession. On Friday, I recorded my 667th new pool, The Venue in Borehamwood, just outside of London:

While only my 13th new pool this calendar year, this became by 85th new pool this "goal year," my 17th year on this quest:

Beyond the number of pools, the workouts and the physical health benefits, this journey has brought me so much more than I could have imagined when I set out:

  • I couldn't comprehend the number of times I would show up at a random new pool in a different city, end up talking with some fellow swimmer, coach, lifeguard or facility administrator and realize we knew someone in common.

  • I certainly didn't appreciate the kindness of strangers, the many people who let me swim with their teams (like in NYC) or in their facilities for free (like in Panama), and those who allowed me into otherwise private pools that a mere mortal like me had no right to be in (like in Chicago and Mexico City)

  • I always knew I loved the times when I got to swim with my swimming family, but didn't appreciate at age 40, with all my children at home, how special the times would be when I got to swim with them again (like in Toronto and London).

  • I anticipated some adventures, but the experiences have been far above and beyond what I conceptualized at the time - from swimming of rooftops in India and Nepal to swimming road trips to architectural dream pools to pools steeped in history and so much more.

With 2/3rds of the goal completed in 17 years, I should be able to complete this in 25 years. It's totally doable!

So, like every ambitious person ever, with success in my sights, I have to up the ante. So, I've added sub-goals:

  • Swim in all 50 American states: so far, I've swum in at least one pool in 30 states plus the District of Columbia.

  • Swim in all Canadian provinces and territories: I've swum in 6 of the 10 provinces, but none of the 3 territories.

  • Set a target to swim in 51 different countries before I die: my count is only 19, but I'm hoping that living in England for the foreseeable future will help me achieve this!

Onward thru the chlorine-fogged goggles, my swimming friends!


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