B. Paris. 1986. Leica M3. 50mm Summicron.


Swimming in the great pools of the world. A counterpoint to the current weather...


The "Prince Rainier Memorial Pool" in Monte Carlo. 

Bad luck here in Austin. The pool staff did a half-assed job of getting ready for our three nights of hard freezes and now we have some broken pipes that need to be repaired at the club. The water has been turned off. The repairs are supposed to start today. With divine intervention and fervent prayers (and payment of a large invoice) we hope the pool is swimmable for our masters practice tomorrow morning. I am an eternal pessimist when depending on others to get stuff done so I'm assuming the whole process will take the better part of the work week. The sad thing is that a bit more up front effort could have prevented this from happening in the first place...

But all this got me thinking about swimming, of course. And since I was already going through a folder of images from scanned slides coincidence conspired to toss in the image above just to rub my nose in my "no swim practice" dilemma.

I worked on a week long corporate project back in the late 1990's for a prosperous software company. They had high hopes that if they did a five star show in a cool place like Monaco their EU clients would be so impressed. Even with "A" list speakers and great planned dinners, etc. attendance was a fraction of what the client expected. They shortened their program from full days to half days, supplemented by lots of golf, sightseeing, etc. But for "below the line" people like me it meant, mostly, mid-afternoon to early evenings with lots of free time. I immediately researched swimming pools within walking distance....

The Prince Rainier Pool is a 50 meter pool situated right in the midst of the harbor area. It's maybe 50 feet from the dockside. Gorgeous yachts everywhere. The water was perfectly clear and kept safe via salt treatment instead of chlorine. The only downside was no lap lanes and no lane lines so dodging kids and slow moving swimmers became part of the entertainment. I can't remember exactly but I seem to recall that admission was $2. A bargain for one of the nicest pools I've been in. 

It was late Spring. The weather was perfect. The pool was maybe a twenty minute, brisk walk from the Loews Beachfront Hotel, which was adjacent to the Grand Casino. The better bet was always the swim. 

Did I have a swim suit and goggles? You might as well ask if I breath oxygen. 

I have fond memories of five really nice, laid back swims in the Monte Carlo pool. And also nice memories of nice cappuccinos on the balcony of my room afterwards. Traveling with corporate officers is always a nice way to see the world. A bit skewed, but nice nonetheless.

But now here we are in 2022 and my local pool is on the fritz. This afternoon I'm going to brave the cold water and swim a couple miles at Deep Eddy Pool. It's a public pool. 33.3 yards long. Water supplied by deep underground wells. Chilly in the best of times. Chillier after rain and freezing temperatures. I'll really need to make it a double cappuccino when I finish with today's swim...

...just came back from our walk. It's 48° and sunny at about noon. Should hit the high 50s this afternoon. We had three nights with hard freezes but as a weather optimist I'm thinking that's just enough to kill off a lot of the bugs here in CenTex. But sadly, it will trigger more cedar pollen. Zyrtec and Kleenex at the ready. 

I've been shooting a lot with the Leica Q2. It's a really nice camera but sadly it's no "magic bullet." Using it has not made my selections of images any smarter, better or more creative. The 28mm is nice enough but I find myself almost always switching to the 35mm frame lines. And often to the 50mm lines. 

Just as I feared. A really, really nice camera that really should have been made with a 50mm focal length lens as a standard. But that's just me. I'll get used to the wider frame. I'm just a slow learner...

Off to find out if I can still stand ice cold water. Hope I haven't aged out.

No coached swim workout today with my crew. Sad. But currently my biggest problem in life. Maybe I should stop complaining.