The smell of chlorine filled her nostrils as she walked through a warm draft into the building. She felt exhausted, but knew that the countless laps that were to fill her night ahead would envigorate her beyond what a stint on the sofa ever could. Remember, this will be good for me, she reminded herself.
Once in the changing room she pulled on her costume, it felt tight against her body and she stretched to ease it out, wondering if it had always been that tight. As the latex of her swimming cap settled on her forehead and her goggles on top of that, the lenses two points focusing the energy within her, she began to let all the thoughts racing through her mind slowly lift away.
She gripped her toes over the concrete bumps framing the water and released her body forwards, fingers first. The water hit her chest and she held her breath, kicking hard. Her calves hurt, a deep throbbing pain ran through them. With each stroke she tried to pull deeper, run her cupped hand straight down past her torso and out at her hip, each time faster, each time stronger.
She picked up the pace and by the time she hit the 5m marker, was ready to count, one, two, three strokes before rolling her whole body over and securely pushing both feet, it had to be both feet, against the white tiles. Bubbles flew out of her nose, she was suddenly acutely aware of every muscle in her body. I make the water move around me, I can hold my breath until my lungs ache, I can keep this going as long as I like, she thought.
She rolled onto her back and started counting the panels on the ceiling, only aware of water, breath, colour and shape. And this was the way she liked it.