The Power of Swimming in Community

I’ve swam laps before as a means of exercise, but never looked forward to it like I do now. What’s the difference?

I’m gathering with others. It’s an early morning community, as the sun rises pink in the sky, and we shuffle out of sleepiness and into smiles, greeting one another, making friends. We dive into the cool pool and stream along the lane to its inevitable end and then shimmy back to where we started.


As I walked home this morning after 45 minutes of swimming, I felt exhilarated. Yes, I moved my muscles and my limbs. Yes, I ensured the strength of my heart and lungs. Yes, I communed with my soul in the dawn.

I also felt a part of something.

And that’s no small thing.

It’s not yet to the point where if I don’t show up one morning, people will worry. But we do share our weekend stories and commiserate over being too tired one morning to make it out of bed and into the pool.

Someone’s listening.

In our workaday lives, in our frenetic running from here to there, in the bills stacking up and the kids’ demands and the rare solitary moments of just chilling to listen to the birds and the way the pond in the backyard burbles in the afternoon, we don’t always have that.

There isn’t an ever-presence sense of being part of something, of being surrounded by friendly people who share an interest, and a common concern.

It’s not automatic to matter to others, or at least to feel like you do.

Yes, it’s just a master swim class that people sign up and pay for. But it’s more than that.

I love being a part of a neighborhood and showing up in the morning where other people show up, starting my day in the peaceful way. I love making connections. Making friends.

Looking into the pool-clear eyes of another and knowing we share a moment, a recognition. A sense of the depths of connection and the necessity of the depths.

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