Venture #4

becoming “water safe”


I partook in my very first official swim lesson this morning. Just a quick 35 minute lesson, but it’s a start. I’ve been wanting to learn how to swim for years, but to no avail. I just don’t have enough trust in those who haven’t been certified to teach a novice how to swim (a.k.a. my friends and family). So I looked up where swimming lessons were available that also catered to adults, and lucked up in finding that private lessons were being offered at the aquatic center in town. Albeit, private only means that the instructor is one-on-one with you, because when I showed up for my appointment there was a line in the parking lot to get in and the pool was already filled with people just coming to enjoy themselves for the day. So, my instructor, who looked to just be barely out of high school (if that) looked for some space in the water where we’d have some sort of space for me to learn. It was interesting though. The water was extremely choppy because of all the movement from people swimming and there were some close calls of running into people during the lesson. All in all, we managed to do what we could with the space we could find. My instructor was very calm and patient with me, as I informed her that we would be starting from complete scratch with me. She started me with a board and noodle to help keep me afloat while she helped me try to kick my way from one end of the pool to the other. I have no idea what my body was doing because I felt like I was kicking all over the place. Next, she wanted to see how comfortable I would be with having my head under water. First, she started by placing a ring at the bottom of the pool and having me go under to grab it. That worked out pretty well. I’ve held my head under water before, so that wasn’t too big of a deal. Now she had me practice trying to swim from one end to the other with my face in the water and turning my head side to side anytime I needed to come up for air. That’s when things got tricky for me. Too many things to focus on at once. I was trying to focus on my kicking, staying afloat, holding my breath, and how to come up for air all at the same time. I was only able to make it about halfway before I started dropping or taking in water. But it still wasn’t too bad for my first attempts. After that, came floating. First, on my back, then, on my front. Floating on my back wasn’t too bad, but I had trouble keeping my hips up. The front was a different story because it involved holding my breath and doing some arm motions to stay up. After floating was, the last event for the day, bobbing. She took me to a deeper end where I would need to stand on my tip-toes to keep my head above water. I wasn’t too thrilled with going to a deeper end on my first day, but I tried it anyway (especially when I saw there were little kids learning how to swim over in that end lol). It took me a minute to get myself relaxed enough to get off my toes and allow myself to go under and push back up, but I managed to do it a couple times and that was enough. And that was it. Lesson over. I must say, I gained a little more confidence in my ability to learn after this lesson. It helped that I had someone who could better help me to understand the dynamics of what needs to be done in order to do something in the water. Most people just say “let go and your body just naturally floats”, but my instructor helped me to understand what parts of my body I needed to manipulate. For instance, she noted that floating requires me to keep my hips up and use some abdominal strength and that kicking is more so motion of the hips and thighs than the knees. Understanding this helped me greatly. I do look forward to taking more lessons in the future. I feel like swimming is an essential skill set to anyone looking to do a lot of travel. Traveling and exploring isn’t limitedΒ to dry land only. There is so much aquatic venturing out there, I’d be doing myself a disservice to restrict myself from the experience. So, that was that and on to the next…

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