Tuesday, October 23, 2007



One evening, Rehana Haque and her children hear the following announcement on the radio:
I, Major Zia, provisional Commander-in-Chief of the Bangladesh Liberation Army, hereby proclaim, on behalf of our great national leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the independence of Bangladesh. I also declare we have already formed a sovereign, legal government under Sheikh Mujibar Rahman. I appeal to all nations to mobilize public opinion in their respective countries against the brutal genocide in Bangladesh.
So this was it: a war had come to find them. Whatever was going to happen had already happened; now they would have to live in its shadow. Rehana wrapped her arms around herself and squeezed tight, willing the old strength to rise up within her again.
Uprising. Revolution. Tahmima Anam's moving debut novel A Golden Age is scheduled for release in January 2008. Look for it!

On this unseasonably warm October morning, it was easy to will the old strength to rise up and head for the John Jay pool. Our Red Bull drinking coach presented us with a series of revolutionary sets:
2 x (150 ez swim, 150 pull, 150 kick, 50 free fast)
6 x 75
(2 x fly/back/free)
(2 x back/breast/free)
(2 x breast/fly/back)
200 pull
2 x 150 free build
3 x 100 drill/swim
4 x 50 kick
8 x 25 free fast
400 fly kick with fins

Sunday, October 14, 2007


90 minutes of splendor

Still reeling from last night's 11th inning loss, I packed up my swim gear and headed for the John Jay pool.
Coach Conrad's morning workout was a gift:
400 reverse IM (swim/drill/kick/swim by 25)
300 reverse IM (kick/drill/swim by 25)
5 x100 free (descend by 5 seconds)
Swim the following four times through. The first round is all backstroke, followed by all breaststroke, then fly, and ending with IM order. Use the kick as recovery.
25 kick
25 stroke
25 kick
50 stroke
25 kick
75 stroke
5 x 100s
50 kick/50 pull
50 pull/50 kick
100 pull
100 kick
100 swim free
Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the set of 5 x 100s
6 x 50 freestyle (50 sprint/50 ez)
It was if, as poet Charles Wright writes, the water spoke and said yes. The liquid world was affirmative, assenting and agreeable.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Finding the action she craves

Stephanie, my teammate, is enrolled in a MS program in Library & Information Science at Pratt. When she's not in the pool, the library or the classroom, she's working to help Ladies Home Journal develop their archives. The other day, she stumbled upon this little poem about swimming and looking trim (sigh):

If you'd acquire a figure trim,
Lose no time getting in the swim.
To find the action that she craves
The modern girl cuts through the waves,
She emulates the streamline trout:
No hips! They're definitely out.
By swimming strokes her curves are placed
Where they belong -- above the waist!

"When auntie swam the old breast stroke."...
What memories those words evoke!
Long bathing skirts and stockings, too,
And bathing hats of every hue,
And ladies trying valiantly
To breast their way into the sea:
It must have done the trick at that,
For auntie surely wasn't flat.

- From "Sing or Swim," Louise Paine Benjamin, LHJ, July 1936

The action that I've been craving has been on land. Inspired by Jose Aponte, I've been outdoors most everyday running in the neighborhood in preparation for some short NYRR races this fall. I do plan to get back in the pool before too long however (seeking to avoid the locker room ribbing of the slacker).

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