Up Mont, a volunteer group advocating for
better Pepco performance. “I almost feel like
I’m letting people down if I don’t make it to
class. I want to be part of it. It reminds me of
the team camaraderie when I played sports.”
Collins, the group’s unofficial captain,
came up with the idea for its unorthodox
team uniform. She buys a different hue of
flowered swim caps for the group every
year and sometimes hands them out at
class parties she hosts.
Much like Halloween costumes, the
goofy swim caps loosen inhibitions and
lighten the mood. They’re equalizers. Young
or old, fit or infirm, we all wear them and
feel, at least for the moment, as if we’re one.
“It’s like a Brownie badge or a sorority pin,”
says Sondra Scott, 72, of Bethesda.
Twice in the last three years, participants
have worked together to save the class. Equinox management has temporarily reduced
the number of times the group meets, from
three times weekly to twice, citing budgetary priorities favoring larger classes. Aqua
Motion fans have demanded reinstatement.
A class that attracts predominately women
over 50 doesn’t fit the image the gym portrays
in its slick advertising campaigns, which feature photographs of fit, natty and naughtily
posed young people, Peter says. She happens to be the gym member who launched a
campaign last year demanding that Equinox
remove from the side of its building a billboard depicting a scantily clad young woman
crouching, doggie-style, atop a pool table.
“Unlike all that fatuousness, this class is
real,” Peter says. “It is about the real robust-
ness of women.”
So, week after week, I wade into the
water and out of time.
“Somewhere over the rainbow…,” Zimmerman is singing once again.
Around the pool, floating women wearing flowered swim caps—the young and the
old, the fit and the infirm—can’t help but join
in. “…bluebirds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?”
“Why? Why? Oh, why?” Zimmerman
ad-libs. “It’s just not fair, is it?” n
April Witt is a former Washington Post
writer who lives in Bethesda. To comment
on this column or suggest ideas, email april
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