Hey,

So I've come to the conclusion that I should probably start exercising after 10 years of sitting on my ass and basically not exercising at all. I've decided to start swimming laps, and I need your help to figure out how I am going to go about this realistically and with the least possible amount of looking stupid.

I used to swim pretty good, but now it's really super annoying to swim, because I can't do it "the right way". Anybody out there swim regularly? Got some ideas for a modified stroke? If not my plan is to do a ridiculous looking hands only crawl with my legs sprawled out to the sides in their now "neutral" sitting like position.

But more importantly I've gotta figure out how to get myself into the water. I'm 6' tall, 140 pounds, T8 para rocking an aging TiLite ZRA. I checked out my local pool this morning and it is surrounded by inconveniently sharp, plasticky, non-slip material that seems designed to tear up your ankles/butt, shins, etc during transfers (with safety for ambulatory peeps clearly an afterthought). Then the pool is another foot and a half or so straight down to the surface of the water with no ledge on which to balance myself while getting out of the pool.

I'm reasonably sure I can get myself to a sitting position on the side of the pool if I use a lane with a ladder and/or diving blocks on it because I will have something over my head to grasp and pull myself up. But I'm quite sure it's gonna be awkward as hell.

The part I'm really worried about is getting back in the chair while I'm all wet and slippery. Since getting a chair with a higher front end (I think the front of my cushion is something like 22 inches off the ground) I can't do a competent floor transfer in my house without something to brace myself on. Now I'm going to have to figure out a new transfer while wet into a chair on a wet surface where if I slip I go tumbling down onto plasticized sandpaper ready to rip my skin to shreds, and do all of this struggling and injuring myself in public under the watchful eye of bored lifeguards and geriatric former professional swimmers.

So, after my long winded introduction, here are the specific problems I am anticipating and the ideas for solutions I have thus far. Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

1. Protecting myself from the sandpaper ground.
- I was thinking of a towel or a yoga mat or something in front of and underneath my chair. A towel seems like a poor idea because it's bound to get wet and I am going to need 3 towels already just to keep myself and my chair reasonably dry. The only yoga mats I've ever really seen up close were cheap things that seemed to want to curl back up into a roll and were hard to keep in place. This is probably my biggest problem, so if you've got an idea, shout it out.
- Are there protective type of swim suits, especially for the buttocks area? Maybe there's like a mini wet-suit type of deal that is more just where the swimming trunks would go?
-For my feet I know there are water shoes. Vainly I'd like something more hydrodynamic since I fancy myself something of a "real" swimmer, but I don't know if there is anything more form fitting that exists.

2. Getting to the floor. Never a graceful endeavor, nor one I relish doing in public. Some of the diving blocks have little steps off to the side which might provide a reasonable midway pause, but at 6' tall my knees and legs like to sprawl all over the place, which is inconvenient to say the least. I can probably struggle through this one though.

3. Getting back in the chair once I'm up on the deck. A couple of little steps before reaching the 22" height of my chair would be nice, but I have no idea how to accomplish this in a reasonably portable fashion. Again there is the step cut into the diving block, but those might not always be there and it's a tiny little ledge. I could probably leave the chair beside the ladder which has a rung rising onto the pool deck on either side, but these aren't conveniently shaped to help lift me that high.

The pool doesn't have a lift, which is too bad, this would save me a lot of effort and injury. No one is going to be going with me, and for reasons of stupid pride and mild paranoia I'm unwilling to accept an alternative that requires another person to drag me out of the water.

If anybody's got some ideas, let me know. Otherwise I guess this will be an exercise of trial and error, but a little blood loss never hurt anybody? Right?