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(11/8/98 -- Keith Attenborough) Details of NSPN's first pool session


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Talk about being conflicted -- here I am, supposed to be promoting pool sessions for a group of 160+ paddlers, trying to encourage everyone to get out and practice in warm, albeit highly chlorinated, water. But last night was so much fun, I want to keep it absolutely quiet!!

Oh well, I never could keep my mouth shut....

Last night, eight intrepid folks found their way to the Lydon Aquatic Center, in the Liberty Tree Mall, Danvers, for our first pool session. The Special Olympic Swim Team (pause for applause for these folks) was ahead of us, but finished when expected, so we started staging boats into the pool around 7:20. This interesting exercise involves carrying long kayaks down a narrow corridor and trying to clear the doorway before the bow person takes a very wet last step.

Once in, the first step was to SHOW ME THE MONEY -- and get the business part out of the way. Boats, were then rinsed and Bob B. and a couple of others (Brian, etc.) pulled out the lane ropes. Boats and people then rapidly proceded to get wet. With only eight of us, it was four boats to a pool, plenty of room to manuver. One pool is a constant depth 4 footer, the other a more standard 4 foot to 9 foot.

I stayed in the deeper pool, but it looked like folks in the shallow side were mostly doing rolls and braces. However, at one point I noticed Chris doing a vertical balance reversed dry exit -- hey, Chris, most of us sit in the boats and stand on the shore. Someone from that side can go into more detail.

In the deep pool, we also did rolls and braces, but threw in some paddle float and balance rescues, as well as a number of "T" and Inuit bow and paddle rescues. These group rescues aren't difficult, but they need practice so the rescuer knows exactly what the steps are and can be in control -- doing them for the first time in 40 degree water is not good. If you get into any pool, take time to work on this stuff, in addition to your individual skills. Next time I'd like to encourage everyone to do at least one "all in" rescue as well.

I saw Bob B., Chris and Guy take time to help others, and I assume that was a lot of sharing of info going on about what worked and what didn't. That's the goal and it was good to see it happen.

After almost a full two hours of splashing, breathing water, rolling and just general fooling around, including the "how to tan your legs while paddling an upside down kayak" stroke, we climbed out. On the appreciated advice of Joel Thomas, we rinsed neoprene and nylon to avoid damage, then used the changing rooms and showers, put the lane markers back (thanks Brian, Marj, Chris), packed up and headed back to reality.

It was a great time, useful and fun, and yes, the water was warm. Next session will be Dec 13th, I'll post a notice in advance for sign ups (figure right after Thanksgiving). We will have both pools again, and based on the experience last night, figure 12 sea boats, six per pool.

Hope to see you there (alright, they made me say that). :-) My turn to spot.


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