Within this group of pools, is an historic achievement: Pool #333
Yes, The Quest is one third complete.
It has taken 20 years to get to this point. If I continue at this rate, I’ll reach 1000 pools when I am 83. That sounds like a risky strategy to me, as I reckon I’ll barely be able to walk 1000 meters when I’m 83, let alone swim it. So, I’ve upped the annual target to 24 pools (only 2 per month) – and I hit it comfortably last year (view the charts here if you wish: Progress v Target).
This year will be more difficult with the rotator cuff shoulder surgery, I underwent in April. But we shall see – I don’t have to swim it fast. Just swim it.
As a reminder, here are a few things that were happening back in 1993, when The Quest began.
- Paul Keating was Australian Prime Minister
- Bill Clinton was US President
- John Major was UK Prime Minister
- World Trade Center bombed (in the carpark beneath)
- Branch Davidians raided in Waco
- Jurassic Park is the #1 movie
- The World Wide Web is born at CERN
- Czechoslovakia splits into the Czech Republic and Slovakia
- New kids on the Block call it quits (probably the event that most effects us all, even today)
- I still had my flowing golden locks
And there were many, many pools I have swum that were not yet built.
But I’m not done yet. Clearly. And trust me, the magnitude of the challenge ahead is sobering.
#331 – Greenpoint YMCA, New York City
To say I have vague memories of this place would be overstating it. The trouble with these New York YMCA’s is they’re all labyrinthian, the pools are all roughly the same length and width, and, of course, I never go back. So, often the only memories are of locker rooms, corridors and aqua and I’m outta there in under 30 minutes.
I’m very sorry. You deserve better. But please have a little sympathy. I’m cursed, you realise, by not being allowed to carry my phone inside and take pictures. Which would surely aid the little grey cells. But that’s me in the picture and the name rings a bell, and that’s the best I can do this time.
#332 – Rockaway YMCA, New York City
This one I do remember as it was brand new and took an age to get there.
Rockaway was slammed during Super Storm Sandy. Signs of rebuilding were everywhere on the day of my visit – in fact, when I first searched it out, GoogleMaps had a blank field where the YMCA now sits.
Modern, clean, well-designed. New York could do with a few more like it. Highly recommended.
#333 – Greenwich YMCA, Connecticut
History is made.
One cold, March morning, I hopped the interstate train at Grand Central bound for Greenwich, Connecticut. Which isn’t far, as it happens. There was a tingling in my fingers and toes as I walked the largely, deserted main street to the YMCA knowing that, in an hour’s time, maybe less, The Quest would be one third complete.
And so it happened. More than that, I’m happy to say that the life-guard on duty that day truly ‘caught the vision’. He took this photo for me. He told me where to stand. He smiled a lot and said things like, ‘awesome’. Yes, such passion is a clear endorsement of how The Quest impacts the man in the street. A bit of hope enters into their lives.
As I trudged back to the train station, I was both elated and daunted. For a moment, just a moment, I could enjoy the victory but I knew I had a long, long road ahead.
P.S. That’s my time on the clock behind me. It only took me 11 hours, 13 minutes and 35 seconds to swim the ‘K’. Not bad at my age.
#334 – Columbia North YMCA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
We took a mini-break in the City of Brotherly Love, one long weekend, so naturally, I pool had to be conquered. Fairly laid-back attitude in this place which was nice (I do like saying, ‘New York’ when people ask where I’m from. They tend to quiver a little, I’ve found).
My beautiful daughter accompanied me this day. With this pool another US state was conquered.
#335 – Tuckahoe YMCA, Richmond, VIrginia
A quick trip to DC saw us barrelling further down the 95 to visit some friends in Virginia. And that meant another US state would be conquered. Nice town, Richmond, and this was a very nice, sprawling YMCA with a couple of indoor pools.
It was in and out and back on the freeway to New York.