I’ve been swimming since I can remember. I couldn’t float as a child, so teaching me to swim early was a priority for my parents. As a result, I started swimming competitively around age six.

I swam through high school, and later contemplated swimming in college. I opted for water polo instead, with a club team at the University of Oregon (our team had the “pleasure” of getting our asses kicked by a team led by former Olympian and world record holder Tom Jager).

I’ve been swimming off and on as my primary exercise ever since. But when the pandemic closed gyms and pools everywhere, I took up mountain biking. It didn’t go so well, as I crashed my bike in November 2020, dislocating my shoulder (for the second time), and tearing my labrum (the rim of cartilage that keeps your shoulder in its socket).

A worn swimming pool, with two distinct lanes with tile on the bottom and one lane line marking off the right side of the pool, grey and white walls and rescue and cleaning gear hung on the walls

The charming, empty, "dive bar" pool at the gym I recently joined

A year later, I had surgery to repair the labrum, but there were complications; I had likely torn my labrum a decade earlier when I first dislocated my shoulder, and the labrum was in rough condition.

It’s been a long, slow year of physical therapy and excruciatingly incremental progress. But finally, a year after surgery, I was able to get back in the pool, easing my way back to form.

I’ve joined a modest rural gym with a 25-yard pool. It’s the dive bar of gyms, which is perfect for me. I love dive bars.