Hitting a goal at Kitsilano Pool



Many years ago, I took up the practice of swimming. Since then, I’ve had a goal to swim 1 mile in a pool. As I approached that goal, I’d usually overdo it and strain something, setting me back another couple of weeks and get shy of that goal. Over the years, I’ve developed a rhythm of swimming 20×2 laps in a 25 m pool for an even kilometer.

I remember more experienced swimmers telling me that swimming an actual 50 m length is significantly more challenging than doing a 25 m length twice. Their rationale was in a 25m pool you get a micro rest with the flip turn and kick halfway through.

When I first started traveling to Canada, I would swim laps at the Vancouver Aquatic Centtre, which had a dedicated 50 m pool. Yes, the experienced swimmers were definitely correct on that one. Twenty 50 m laps for a kilometer is much more difficult than doing the same distance in a 25 m pool.

When I was up in Canada in June, Randy mentioned Kitsilano Pool. It’s an outdoor pool on the west side of town and is North America’s largest outdoor pool. If 50 m lengths were hard(er), 100 m lengths were going to be even more challenging. At 7 AM that June, I jumped in the pool and swam my heart out for 10 laps, getting to 1 km.

As I often do after the fact, I started researching Kitsilano Pool. I had one significant fact wrong: Kitsilano Pool isn’t 100 m in length. It’s 137 m in length. That math was significant.

I actually swam:

  • 10 laps, which is 1370 m
  • 1370 m is 4495 feet
  • 5280 feet is 1 mile.
  • 5280 – 4495 is about .15 miles

I was two laps short of 1 mile! A simple calculation error obscured how close I was to my goal. I committed to myself that I would swim 1 mile at Kitsilano Pool the next time I was in Canada.

So I approached the pool at 7 AM and swam 1 mile.



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