How to swim for exercise in 29 easy steps

1. Hear from a friend that a local Prestigious Private Boys School opens their pool to the public in the evening for a very competitive rate.

2. Decide to swim for a change in your exercise routine (usually consisting of pushing the double pram around the shops). Ignore fact you haven’t swum for exercise in…well, a decent length of time.

3. Buy new swimming cap and goggles. Get particularly excited that you were able to purchase a cap specifically for people with longer hair.

4. Execute evening routine (dinner, baths and bed) as usual. Ensure there is some expressed milk for the baby if necessary.

5. Realise five minutes after you put baby down that your swimming costume is still in the same room.

6. Quietly enter room and open Incredibly Creaky Drawer to locate swimmers.

7. Grab decidedly unflattering maternity swimmers and pull them on in the dark room. Breathe sigh of relief that they fit. Ignore mirror.

8. Gather supplies (leave kitchen sink because it’s filled with dishes) and head off.

9. Pull over ten metres away from your driveway when you realise you have no idea where you’re going. Check directions and arrive at destination with no further incidents.

10. Feel intimidated by stately grandness of Prestigious Private Boys School. Regret leaving pearls at home.

11. Collect information about multi-visit pass and put belongings down. Put new swimming cap and goggles on and approach pool.

12. Realise belatedly that Prestigious Private Boys Schools are generally filled with Prestigious Private Boys. Desperately hope unflattering old maternity swimmers hold together.

13. Remember that sailors would often confuse dugongs for mermaids – perhaps the water will be equally flattering for you.

14. Consider your entry to the pool – a running dive bomb is likely to be frowned upon, and a traditional dive likely to be less than graceful and potentially embarrassing. Decide to use ladder.

15. Discover as you enter that the “shallow” end of the pool is 1.8m. You are 1.8m.

16. Recall that you happen to be just a tad terrified of deep water (generally) and sharks (specifically).

17. Begin breast stroke, keeping very close to lane rope. Feel heart rate rise as you approach the wall. Try very hard not to think of sharks.

18. Discover your new goggles are totally useless as they fill with water almost immediately.

19. Try to tell yourself the closest shark to this pool is probably the squeaky toy your toddler had in the bath tonight that you are now seriously regretting purchasing.

20. See straight through your own lie – everyone knows that sharks squeeze through drains and hide at the bottom of swimming pools. Swim a little faster.

21. Start singing happy songs (shark) in your head to stop yourself (shark) thinking about sharks.

22. Imagine yourself gliding smoothly through the water like a sh…uhhh…orca. Acknowledge you’re probably moving more like a wounded walrus and hope no one tries to rescue or eat you.

23. Realise the advantage of being chased by a shark is that you swim faster.

24. Decide you’ve swum enough for today. You don’t want to overdo it as you still need to use your arms tomorrow. Resolve to email the school about their shark infestation.

25. Realise you may have already overdone it as you try and clamber ever so gracefully out of the pool. Feel extraordinarily grateful that the Prestigious Private Boys are more interested in swimming and that your only audience is the shark.

26. Blindly feel your way over to your bag and glasses. Realise you have only been in the pool for twenty minutes. Wrap towel around yourself and head for the car.

27. Drive away from the Prestigious Private Boys and their pet sharks towards a cup of tea and a hot shower.

28. Realise happily that despite being stalked by apex predators, you enjoyed your swim and will return the following week.

29. Desperately hope you can lift your children tomorrow.


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