As a teenager I swam in the national and international paraplegic games. The smell of chlorine reminds me of many training sessions in the pool, numbingly cold water during the power cuts, how the lifeguard would sometimes throw me in the water. In training my coach would do the crawl alongside me with his legs crossed so as to even out the odds.
It was an old pool, Victorian, with cubicles along one edge with a small bench, half-doors and curtains, boys downstairs and girls up. Not being able to climb the stairs I used the first boys cubicle, the lifeguard standing watch for me. My mam said that when she was young the lads would go upstairs to the girls’ cubicles and dive off the railing.
I trained in ‘the old pool’ and often had it to myself: the water was green, a glorious, cool, deep green, not that insipid blue of the newer pool.
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