D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's swimming workout involved getting his blood boiling before diving in with the best swimmers in the pool at a recent visit to his beloved Wilson Aquatic Center.
When told by assistant manager Preston Graham at Wilson Aquatics Center that he couldn't leave his canvas bag on the pool deck, Cowan dropped a dime on Fenty, who had stepped onto the deck carrying a big blue duffel bag, which would break a recent Health Department decree that only mesh bags can be brought to the deck.
Oh bothersome rules! Fenty turned on Graham as if the pool manager was a council member.
The mayor whirled and asked for an explanation. Graham told him what he told me, that bags (except mesh) had to be stowed in one's locker. Fenty's eyebrows shot up, and he asked more questions. Visibly and audibly, he was irritated.
Eventually, Fenty put his bag in a corner, Cowan wrote in his e-mail alert, and later, it was gone. The assistant manager told Cowan that Fenty had put it in his locker.
In the pool, Fenty got in to one of two lanes reserved for a masters program. Five people who swim seriously several times a week were being timed by a coach on the deck.
When I finished my swim, I asked the coach if the mayor was "fast enough for your group." He replied, "He's okay. He needs to work more on his [arm] pull." He added that Fenty was "a terrific runner."
In November, parents of Wilson High School swim team members complained that the pool often isn't configured for 25-meter practices and meets. They said the eight lanes were made 50 meters long for Fenty's triathlon training. The Recreation Department responded with plans for a new schedule to accommodate all swimmers.