NightswimmingMonday, August 15, 2016
Lindsay: For years I've wanted to take advantage of the Extreme Heat Alert late night swims, but for all sorts of reasons—cottage trips, family emergencies, friend emergencies—I've always managed to miss night swimming. Until last weekend. It was face-meltingly hot, and Twitter confirmed Sunnyside was open and I zipped down to the lake after the sun set.
(It was the first time I haven't had to remember to wear sunscreen to an outdoor dip!)
It was way more full than I expected, and the flood lights were so, so bright it felt like the middle of the day. There were kids playing Marco Polo in the shallow end and couples making out in the deep end, and because I'd been watching Olympics non-stop, I had to start with a few quick lengths (working on my flip turns because...PENNY OLEKSIAK-SPIRATION!)
It was the most glorious, most long-awaited swim. The water was cool, cold even, such relief from the 43 degree humidity. The clouds were too thick to see the Perseid meteor shower, but the moths were lit by the flood lights and looked like shooting stars as I floated in the deep end. (And I saved the day for a kid by moving a ginormous cicada off his towel).
And then, of course, I listened to REM's Nightswimming on loop until I fell asleep and had the most perfect turquoise dreams.
Meanwhile on the north side of town...
Rhya: I too was blasting Nightswimming through my headphones... because it's one of the top ten ultimate swim songs (note: need to make this list and post here!) It wasn't on repeat though, as I was also floating in Wheat Kings and other Tragically Hip faves in honour of their Toronto concerts that were happening this weekend. So I was pretty much drenched in nostalgia by the time I got to the pool.
The change rooms were quiet. I moved through them fast and headed to the pool deck.
I decided to go for the spontaneous swim because night swimming is like the chlorine soaked unicorn of the Toronto summer! You just have to hit one up when you see that tweet announcing that pools will be open late due to an extreme heat warning.
The JJP was lit up and splashing! There was a real mix of people, from teens canon balling into the deep end, to parents with newborns taking turns floating in the shallow end. I was alone for my swim. I dove in and did some very relaxed lengths. There were two others like me. A woman with her swim cap perched high on her head and an older gentleman whose noggin never dipped under the water...not once. We loosely crowded together on the south side of the pool and did lazy laps, back and forth from the edge of the deep end to the edge of the shallow end.
I kept stopping to people watch. There were kids practicing handstands on the deck, lots of people bobbing about chatting and laughing, and tons of fancy flips happening into the deep waters.
At one point I was almost bowled over by two young boys locked in a very messy race of front crawl. Let's just say there were crazy arms and someone swallowed too much water, and just way too much splashing. It was a riot to be under the city sky, surrounded by life, floating and swimming through that magical night.
I'm glad I caught the unicorn this year!