“BEING A WOMAN IS SO FASCINATING. IT’S AN ADVENTURE THAT TAKES SUCH COURAGE, A CHALLENGE THAT NEVER ENDS. ‘ “
There are things that only a woman who swims understands.
Early in the morning. In the mirror a reflection of you. Dark circles confused between the halo of melted mascara and the goggle marks on your forehead.
The chlorine smell is still there, between the sheets and swimsuit to wash and backpack to fix.
The water is already part of a daily rhythm that is always the same, but is always different.
A SECOND HOUSE
Many swimmers say: “the pool is my second home”. I have often seen my lane as my unique home.
When the walls built of brick and cement didn’t seem to embrace you, the other walls, those of water and blue tiles always did. You have found comfort and comparison, you lost yourself in the smiles of children waiting in line on the benches. The only place where you were not afraid, even if half naked. The weaknesses in the water are not used against you, to destroy you, but to strengthen you, to let you express that strength and wonder that you have.
We are the ones who have felt hair and eyebrows burning by chlorine.
We would buy the “miracle cream” that in one application erases a year of ill-treatment. Each time, however, we look in the mirror and smile at the elastic that wraps chlorinated hair in a cloudy tail.
We train with the boys, but our times will always be higher.
Numerically, we will always be different from them. We are our own universe in the universe.
We wear colors and brighten up the lane. We give tips and remedies.
We embrace strength.
We have forgotten what is to wear bracelets or earrings during the week and look forward to the weekend to make us irresistible. We play with make-up to paint red lips and dissolve hair at last, of those shoulders shaped by strokes.
WE LOVE THE TECHNICAL SUIT
We love the technical suit. It hides cellulite. It’s so tight that seems to pulls together the broken pieces that reunite us only when we go on the block.
Behind the goggles we hide mascara dissolved by water and tears.
We are able to swim with fevers, hoping that the water could cure us. We swim in the days when our body is on different rhythms, reminding us that our being women is there and we can’t escape it.
In water we found a world beyond our world, the power over our weaknesses. We treated a broken heart with chlorine. To revive it, we took it back to the limit, until it could resume its beat.
Other people told us that we practice a sport for males, that we have broad shoulders, but we smile every time, because we love this ‘male’ sport, and our shoulders, which have become so broad just to rest the heads of those who need it.
It’s time to zero gravity, to lighten the weights, to prove to ourselves that the pain doesn’t exist, that tiredness will pass, that the legs that know how to walk on soles raised twelve centimeters from the ground, wrapped in black stockings, can push water and grind kilometers. Our arms, delicate and soft pillows, can become thrust engines, cutting water and seconds, one aspiring to recognition: ours.