Swimming Through Winter

After a long day trekking up and down Academy Street with more books than I can fit into my backpack, snow sneaking into my boots, and a nose as cold as ice, I do the one thing you would never expect someone in Kalamazoo to do in the winter: I go swimming.

Kalamazoo College natatorium

Kalamazoo College natatorium

As a sophomore, I probably should have started thinking about the physical education requirement for graduation about four terms ago. We always hear those scary stories of the seniors who forgot about gym until graduation and are now stuck doing Zumba, yoga, basketball, and ballet all in the same quarter. My goal is to not be one of those seniors, so, after repeatedly hearing “no” and “it will be too cold,” I finally convinced my roommate that we needed to take developmental swimming, in which students are required to swim for half an hour three times a week. I even bought her a swim cap for Christmas. Aren’t I the best roommate ever?

Lucky for us, our dorm is located right next to the natatorium, and the walk to and from takes about fifteen seconds (nowhere on this campus takes much longer than two minutes to get to, so maybe this isn’t saying much). Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday—“every” is an exaggeration, but we’re trying our best—we put on our bathing suits, cover them with sweatshirts and our winter coats, grab our goggles and swim caps, and make the short walk to the pool. 

Some students spend the half hour diligently doing laps and impressing my roommate and I, but we like to get out the kickboards and floaties and slowly make our way up and down the lanes. We may spend more time chatting about what we did that day than actually exercising, but hey, at least we’re moving!

To my surprise, some of my friends who are not taking the class for credit have started joining my roommate and I on our swims. At such a busy college, I don’t realize that there are people who live in my building, who I may not see for days at a time.

Three female swimmers from Kalamazoo College

Two of my swim buddies

So although I initially wanted to go another quarter without taking a gym class, I am glad my mother called me, telling me I wouldn’t graduate if I didn’t start worrying about the gym requirement now. I actually look forward to the nights that I get to see my friends and get a little bit of exercise. I spend so much of the day inside, covered in layers of clothing and drinking hot tea to keep warm, it is nice to have a little bit of summer fun in the middle of all this snow.


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Mallika Mitra ʼ16

About Mallika Mitra ʼ16

Mallika is an English major with an emphasis in writing and a political science minor from Stony Brook, New York. She is the Features Editor for the Index and co-President of K''''s chapter of Amnesty International.