(Caution: this post contains photos and video that may induce arousal. Consult your doctor before viewing.)
Earlier today, I took my bike down the sunny and sparkling beach to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Designer, athlete, advocate and A-list gay celebrity (and someone I'd consider stalking if he were not already so friendly) Jack Mackenroth had invited me to meet his fellow members of Team New York Aquatics (TNYA) who are in town for their annual Swim Camp.
I wheeled into the Hall of Fame lot with a nod to the larger than life images of swimming icons Johnny Weissmuller and Esther Williams and was greeted by TNYA's award winning full-time coach, Conrad Johnson.
More, plus photos and video, after the jump.
Coach Conrad tells me that there are well over 300 TNYA members, and that gay men and women who might consider joining should not be intimidated by some of the more experienced members (including an Olympic gold medalist). Membership includes and encourages swimmers of all skill and speed levels. As I toured the pool with Coach Conrad, I saw the happy and begoggled faces of gay men and women of every age in lanes both fast and slow.
At 10:45, everyone was ordered out of the pool for a stretch class led by my Upper West Side neighbor, Brad Cole.
After the class, I met 1984 Olympic Gold medalist Bruce Hayes and some of the other members, all of whom were full of the kind of vitality that is borne only of regular exercise. (Damp hands and pocketless Speedos made this a social moment in which I was relieved of the ordinary exchange-of-cards obligation.)
TNYA is all about friendship, camaraderie, discipline, healthy living, fun, motivation, self-esteem and socializing. What's not to like? But a word to the locals: don't look to meet these guys and gals out at the bars in the wee hours. Their schedule is rigorous and they are fast asleep long before the rest of us have chosen an outfit for the evening. Ah, daylight. Ah, spandex. Amen.