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Swimathon

I’ve finally done it. After thinking about it for several years, I’ve signed up for the Swimathon. On April 27th I’ll be swimming 5 km (just over 3 miles), that’s two hundred lengths of the local Leisure Centre pool. The swim is in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Swimming has always been one of my favourite things. I loved the water as a child, and even swam competitively (for a very short time) at school. When I lived in London, it was my stock exercise. At the moment I swim three or four times a week, though the swims are going to have to get longer each week until the end of April! As a stress-buster, swimming is terrific, and I do a lot of my thinking when I’m swimming too – up and down, up and down, finding missing words for poems, working out tricky assignments, and more.

Swimming played an important role in my metamorphosis from breasted to unbreasted or breastless woman. Pre-op I was swimming a lot, four or five times a week, usually seventy lengths. The day before my operation, I deliberately swam only fifty lengths, and told myself that once I was allowed to, I’d swim the other twenty. Six weeks later, when the breasts were gone, the wounds were healing well and the physio was still quite intensive, I went back to the pool, pulled my costume over my flat chest, and did just that. It felt absolutely wonderful to be back in the water, and I managed the twenty lengths, though I was totally exhausted.

I worked the lengths up again from that point, until after a few weeks I felt very fit and my shoulders and neck were more or less fully mobile. I gained a lot of confidence from being my new shape in the pool, where people are all kinds of shapes and no-one notices. I found a crossover style of swimsuit that suited me (without those maddening foam cups) and bought two, then two more when those wore out, and so on.

Yesterday I swam ninety lengths, and tomorrow I aim to hit one hundred.

If you’re of a mind to sponsor me for the Swimathon, here is the link:
http://my.artezglobal.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=416986&registrant

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About Clare Best

I am Clare Best – poet, writer, teacher of creative writing. My first career was as a fine bookbinder. I've also worked as a bookseller, and for many years as an editor. Poetry publications: Treasure Ground (HappenStance 2009), Excisions (Waterloo Press 2011), Breastless (Pighog Press 2011), CELL (Frogmore Press 2015), Springlines (Little Toller 2017)

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