I’m coming to be an old hand at water aerobics now and I recognize a lot of the regulars and they recognize me. It is an inveterately social and friendly group and all it takes to fit in is a bathing suit and a willingness to get wet. As I slide into the water I immediately complain about how cold it is and that cements the bond between us. (There is an ongoing debate between group water exercisers and lap swimmers that has gone on since the Neanderthals first built swimming pools. Lap swimmers prefer the water to be cooler – say 80-81º, whereas the aerobics crowd would like it to be warmer – more like 85-86º. The Club has compromised at exactly 83.5º. for about the past five years. Today, I score points by declaring Kennedy-like “Ich bin ein aerobicizer”. Still, there’s no way we’re changing that %$*# temperature.)
The class is larger than usual today because the kindred spirits from the Racquet Club’s group ex program have joined us. (The pool heater at the LRRC is on the blink and so we are “pooling” our resources. The favor will be returned starting Friday because the LRAC pool is going to be closed for about five days to make some needed repairs.) Everyone knows the teacher, Mary Wholleb, because she teaches classes at each club.
I’ve been to six of the eight water aerobics classes now and it’s amazing to me how the teachers can keep finding variations on the theme. Mary has her own style and a seemingly bottomless pit of exercises to work the body by using the resistance of the water. The hardest one for me is probably also the most basic – treading in place with my hands out of the water. We used to do that for entire games of water polo back in the day but now I see how hard it is if one isn’t acclimated to it. Each time, Mary calls ‘time’ I am relieved to rest my feet on the bottom.
At one point during class someone steps on a pebble that’s found it’s way into the pool. Sharp objects on the pool bottom are about as welcome as a jellyfish. Mary and I head over to find the offending stone but it’s smallish and can’t quite be grabbed with the toes. Eventually, I have to go all Lloyd Bridges to find the little feller. It takes me four or five dives to snare it but finally I do. The appreciative class gives me a floating ovation for the effort. Ah, it’s nice to be needed.
We end up class by using the infamous aqua “noodle”. Mary has a lot of inventive ways to incorporate this device into the practice and it’s fun to see the creativity. I keep waiting for her to let us play ‘whack a mole’ with the noodles but it never happens. Next time.
There are about 16 in class today and one of the Racquet Club members, Ileene Watkins wins the $25 gift certificate.