Here it is, and by golly it’s exciting.
The greatest pool conquering challenge ever undertaken.
Namely, to swim 1000 metres (one kilometre) in 1000 different pools around the globe. There are few quests that take 50 years to complete, but this is one of them.
Rarely has a challenge both bemused and caught the passion of the general public. Seldom have swimmer and non-swimmer been brought together in disbelief and confusion as they silently mouth, ‘Why, for goodness sake?’
You might be thinking (and it’s a commonly held belief) that there are no great challenges left to mankind. We have conquered space, you say. Explored the great deserts and oceans. Split the atom. Invented the Slurpee. Domesticated the panda even (I think that’s been done).
But I say the road of mankind’s great challenges still stretches out before us. It’s a road with no end in sight. And it’s a road waiting to be swum – if you can imagine such a thing.
It’s possible that someone has done this already but I’ve never heard of it and every time I’ve told someone about ‘The Quest’, I’m stared at as if I’m mad. (Except, not surprisingly, those who work at pools. They tend to go all silent and nigh on reverential as if confronted with some great Aqua-Sage, before barraging me with questions. They are, of course, but a short chapter in a Great Mission and my sense is that by the time I walk away, they end up feeling all special and insignificant at the same time.)
You might already have questions forming in your mind: What kind of pools is he talking about? Does a large fishtank count? The Serpentine? Is he going to arrive on my doorstep and announce my backyard pool is next on his list? Fair questions all. And to satisfy your burgeoning curiosity (and perhaps set a few minds at rest) I have included an FAQ section for you to enjoy.
My motto is ‘They can’t build them as fast as I can swim them’, which on examination is fairly trite and pointless. But when said with heart and accompanied with a stern gaze, it carries a certain no-nonsenseness that befits this epic quest and makes it all seem not just possible, but, by golly, inevitable.
And so it is. Two new pools per month will see me reach my target in 20 years. Barring the loss of all my limbs, or the addling of my brain due to over-exposure to chlorine (it has crossed my mind more than once during my countless laps that I don’t know the connection between chlorine as when used to clean a pool and chlorine as when used to make a poisonous gas), I will be well able to swim a kilometre when in my 70’s.
Thank you for coming with me on this noble adventure. Think of me when you pass your local pool. Drop me a line and ask, ‘Porpoise, have you done this pool? Is it already a pool scalp hanging from your Speedos?’
I’ve a long way to go, but I am focussed and the pools can’t hide. Wish me well.
Kenton ‘the Porpoise’ Webb