Swimming at Astoria Pool ended last week and the pool has been drained. I swim in the adult swimming program. I swim with the Early Birds in the morning and the Night Owls in the evening. This year I earned a 25-mile t-shirt in each but I did not win a trophy.
Last year I won third place at the Night Owls. The trophies were beautiful this year so I regret not winning one.
I never won any trophies growing up and when I first won a trophy many years ago I thought it was rather silly to get one in mid-life.
I’ve learned to compete and care about winning the trophies. Another man almost beat me a couple of years ago and I put on the steam to win. Winning matters to me now.
The New York City Pool Program has an awards ceremony at the end of the season to give out the t-shirts and trophies. It is a slightly cheesy affair at Hamilton Fish Pool in Manhattan, always with food catered by Katz, a relay race, a synchronized swimming performance and a musician. We love it because we get to be together and share the moment.
The swimmers who come every year to Astoria Pool get to know one another. We don’t talk much during the season. It’s hard to talk when swimming. So the Awards Ceremony is a great occasion to congratulate each other.
Astoria Pool is the largest pool in New York. Constructed in the 1930’s It is outside, in the park and just a fabulous ruin.
The swimmers from Astoria always comprise the largest contingent at the Awards Ceremony. This year I counted 45 names listed in the program bill winning 25-mile shirts from Astoria. Five people such as myself swim in both morning and evening programs. Yay Astoria!
We’re the biggest group of swimmers by far. They should have the awards party at our pool.
We have a potluck party at Astoria Pool to thank the staff and schmooze one last time. This year I made egg burritos for the Early Birds, and spicy chicken strips for the Night Owls. Other people brought candies, cakes, cookies, coffee. Most of the food is hand-made by the swimmers.
After it is over I’m sad to see the summer go, but glad as well to move on to other things. Work, learning and new things to do.
Next summer will come and so will we. Old friends and new, the Swimming Birds at Astoria Pool.