We’ve seen Willie Cauley-Stein do some pretty incredible things on the basketball court, but what he did yesterday at the Cain pool here at The Cove is his most impressive feat.
Somehow, while lounging on the daybeds you see in the photo, Willie told everyone he could swim the length of the infinity pool and back without coming up for air. It started as a little challenge amongst a handful of us, but it got rolling with some trash talking (I may have been the biggest doubter) and, before we knew it, a crowd had gathered around the pool, including the entire team.
If my memory serves me correctly, only Tyler Ulis and Karl Towns believed it could be done. Everyone else, roughly 30 people, were guaranteeing it wouldn’t happen. We even gave him a test run, two breast strokes, to see how his length would play into it. The practice made us even more confident because he was terribly slow and we realized the turn on the opposite end would be tough because the water is so shallow.
Then came the big moment, Willie’s time to prove us all wrong. He gave one last taunt to his haters, telling us he would pass out underwater before he came up for air without finishing, and then he was off. And at a very relaxed pace.
He was going so slow, most of us decided he wouldn’t make it to the halfway point. We were booing him from the sides of the pool because we thought it was going to be a major disappointment after all of the build up. But he kept going. And going. And going. Then he hit the halfway mark on his way back and we knew he wasn’t giving up from there. A couple more strokes got him to the finish line and he popped out of the water, not even all that winded, and ran around the pool shouting at all of the non-believers. He shut everyone up.
Why none of us got video of it, I don’t know. He wasn’t happy about that either. But it was pretty remarkable and, like Karl said beforehand, never doubt Willie Cauley-Stein.