Our minds are made to question. Great deeds often bewilder common folk. Great ambition is so readily belittled.

In truth, I don’t know all the answers as to what on Earth’s going on here. What deep-seated need is driving me onwards? Perhaps I’ll never know, but the pools are there and nobody’s going to swim them for me. And for all I don’t know, I do know these two things for certain:

Firstly, I’m on this train, and I’m not getting off, and

Secondly, you can never make too many mindless cliches.

(Oh, and did I mention, that they can’t build them as fast as I can swim them??)

Read on.


Question: What happens if you swim less than the kilometre? Does the pool still count?
Porpoise: Absolutely not. Indeed I often swim far further, particularly in pools of indeterminate length (for example, many of the numerous ocean pools in Sydney) just so I know I’ve done the requisite distance. If I’m stung by a jellyfish or struck by lightning and am forced to retire, I just have to go back another day.

Question: Is there any particular stroke you must do in order for a pool to qualify?
No there isn’t. In fact, I often mix it up a bit – freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke – just to keep those sharing my lane guessing. And I don’t have to do the kilometre non-stop either, meaning, I’ll allow myself a little rest every 300m or so. Why not? Because 9 times out of 10 it’d kill me. But I do have to do it in one session.

Question: How can I know you are actually swimming a kilometre in all these pools? Couldn’t you be just dipping your toe in the water? Or perhaps you’re just sitting at home surfing GoogleMaps sipping on your bucket-sized Pepsi-Cola?
Porpoise: You can’t. There is so much trust needed here on your part that I’m deeply touched. Moved to tears almost. People have said I should photograph each pool I go to, and maybe they’re right but that wouldn’t prove anything, would it? I could simply drive around photographing pools. No, that’s not my game, sport. Conquering pools is.

Question: How fast are you Porpoise? Are you ‘AF’ (awesomely fast), ‘MBAF’ (mind-blowingly awesomely fast), or simply ‘QQ’ (quite quick)?
Porpoise: I’d say I’m firmly in the ‘QQOO’ (quite quick on occasion) camp. I’m not fast. My quickest time for a kilometre is 16minutes 39 seconds. That is not going to impress anyone who knows anything about swimming. Mind you, while I’m not that fast I am ‘DD’ (damned determined), but I think that’s pretty evident from this whole endeavour.

Question: Can you swim around corners?
Porpoise: Probably and I reckon I could manage a hexagon too if the occasion called for it. But it never has.

Question: Can you swim up stairs?
Porpoise: No. And I’d advise you not to trust people who say they can.

Question: Can you surf the internet whilst swimming?
Porpoise: No.

Question: Can you make a phone call whilst swimming?
Porpoise: I’ve thought about this many times and am intrigued by it. Waterproof earpieces exist. Waterproof aerials do too and could be stuck on the back of the swimmer as marine biologists do with migrating turtles that they’re trying to track or dolphins the Navy is training to blow up submarines. But the microphone could be a little tricky to work out. Nevertheless, there may well be a time not too far off where you’ll be able to call me Mid Challenge and ask, ‘Porpoise, how can I donate $500 to your favourite charity, you swimming legend, you?’

Question: Couldn’t you think of something else to do? Chess perhaps?
There is no reason I can think of why you can’t play chess whilst swimming.

Question: Is there any special diet you follow before you chase another ‘pool scalp’?
Hmmm. Not really. I have found that beer and a stir fry enjoyed less than 30 minutes before a swim is marginally detrimental to my performance, but there’s nothing really that I rely on (other than a healthy serve of Strength of Will drenched in lashings of Inflexible Character) to conquer pools. I would remind you that I do not have to swim the k non-stop and have on occasion swum while suffering the flu, or the plague, or whatever it was that caused me to rest after each lap. So, there’s no reason at all why I couldn’t enjoy a beer and stir fry whilst actually completing a challenge, having a swig and a munch each end as it were. However, belching and not knowing which way is up, aren’t really sensations conducive to making one feel like a ‘UPCS’ (uber-pool-conquering-sportshero).


Got a question for me? Send it in.

The Porpoise

Porpoise blue for map

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  1. Kenton:
    1. You didn’t mention butterfly as one of the strokes you might do to mix up your swim. Have you considered doing this stroke (at least one lap now and again)?
    2. Have you considered using blades and / or flippers as part of your mix of swims in pools?

    • Hi Russell,

      My apologies for the delay in replying to your quest. It was buried under so much spam.

      I’m not big on butterfly as I had rotator cuff surgery a couple of years ago so need to take it easy. Butterfly is pretty hard work on the shoulders. I once managed to do 50m of butterfly and I saw that as a major victory.

      Re. blades and flippers – no. I don’t own any and that’s because if I were to wear them, then I couldn’t claim the pool as ‘conquered’ in a clear conscience. However, I see their worth from a training point of view. Lately, I’ve been doing some interval training – mixing up the strokes and pace – and one of the things I do is 50m just my legs. Arms are by my side. Boy, it’s hard work but really builds up the strength in your kick.

      Thanks for your questions.


  2. Kenton,

    Your blog and mission are absolutely wonderful. I didn’t know there were other ‘pool people’ out there. At the moment I am confined to one 25m pool in Northern Australia but it is almost always empty – glorious for swimming 1km before work and having a cool moment before getting into the day in the tropical heat.
    Have you read Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero? I feel like you might enjoy it.

    • Thank you Isabel, NT is the only state I’ve not visited. Or are you in another state? Just north? Re. Queensland, the furthest north I’ve been is Gympie – not very far. Hundreds of pools to go.

  3. Do you have a facebook page for this or only a website ?
    Actually what you are doing is the kind of thing I would like to do, but probably only all the ocean pools in and around Sydney. Unfortunately I’m living overseas and can only ever dream about this right now …

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