Merry Christmas from the women of Western Hills Athletic Club masters swim team! Kristin Turner photo

I swim a lot – four or five times most weeks, unless I’m traveling. But Sunday’s practice – the annual Twelve Days of Christmas workout – topped my list of the year’s best workouts.

Here’s why:

  1. Air temperatures were cool and the humidity was low, and the pool steamed like a big vat of soup when we hopped in. Swimming in the winter is the best: It’s dark when we get in the water, but it feels like we’re diving under a warm blanket.
  2. Coach Kristin Turner brought a pair of dice, and we passed around the dice. Each roll corresponded to a different swim set she’d written on the board. 
  3. We cranked up holiday music on deck, so between sets we got to hear a few bars of old favorites like “Rudolph,” “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” and “Frosty the Snowman.”
  4. Someone in the next lane over brought a collection of tiny mermaid statuettes and arranged them on the dive blocks to motivate us through the hard parts.
  5. We got to swim for an entire hour and a half.
  6. Kristin Turner led Sunday’s swim practice. Pam LeBlanc photo

    We covered nearly 3 miles.
  7. I wore my red, green and cream-striped stocking cap to the pool.
  8. I donned a red, white and green-striped swim cap for the actual swim. Plus a red bikini, always a festive outfit this time of year.
  9. Everyone started the sets together. (Sometimes the slow lanes and the fast lanes are on different intervals, and we get split up.)
  10. I appreciate my swim family. I’ve been swimming with some of them, including Kristin, for 20 years. We’ve seen each other through birth and deaths and graduations and job changes and every different note that pours out of the song of life.

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