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Yesterday afternoon, Tod & I trekked out to Setagaya to watch a swim meet. Tod seemed a little bored, since photography was prohibited, but I had a fabulous time.

There were some excellent swimmers, as you would expect. From the youthful university athletes to the accomplished silver seniors, I observed grace, beauty and power in human packages.

A small handful simply blew away their competition: the long thin man who swam the 50m breaststoke in the blink of an eye; Arai-sensei who anchored a freestyle relay and brought his team from fourth to first. They were astonishingly good.

But the people who inspired me most were the ones who weren't so good. The dumpy housewives and sumo-sized men who did their best but came in last. They were inspiring because if they can compete, so can I.

So during my swim this morning, I paid attention to my times. I even counted my lengths--I swam 1000 meters (not at one go). I pushed a little harder than usual.

And it was a horrible swim. I breathed in water, almost ran into Slow Backstroke Guy, felt my energy flag for lack of breakfast. I didn't break 17 strokes per length; I barely broke 30 seconds for 25m.

I laughed aloud at my terrible time, and the Old Fat Man Who Rarely Moves ranted at me about the differences between Japanese and Americans (in Japanese and I didn't understand a word he said).

Ah, well, there's always tomorrow. Or if I get enough work done, I'll have a swim this evening.

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I have been unable to swim for the past few days because of my arm, and the fact that the pool is now closed for Labor Day weekend. I'll be slogging through my routine tomorrow for sure, and I'll bet I run into Old Man With Paper-Thin Trunks again. *shudder*

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