Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Swim, Swam, Swum?

The last two summers have provided me with the opportunity to try new things. Granted, the things I have done could have been done in spring, winter or even fall. But, our summer circumstances in a new place with new people present the opportunity to do NEW things. You dig?

So, last summer I tried water color. I made a few lovely (now priceless) works of art. As soon as I'm dead, they'll be worth tens, maybe even hundreds. Depends on how dramatic and crazy I live the rest of my life. Maybe I'll cut off part of my face or something to get up in the thousands. I'll think about it.

This summer, oh boy. This summer I will swim. I've talked to several people (my supportive husband included) who are a little shocked that I don't know how to swim. I should clarify that I don't sink like a rock when in water. I can tread water, back float and in a pinch of needing to actually move through the water, a backstroke or doggy paddle might show up. But I wanted to learn how to swim. Like laps in the pool with my head under water most of the time type swimming. Like smooth, even stokes moving as fluid as the water I'm moving through type swimming. Swim a length of the pool instead of gasping for breath about a 1/4 way into starting. You know, swim.

I needed lessons. Supportive husband kept saying he would teach me, and he has tried a couple of times. But I need more than "just moves your arms and breath out every once in while." He means well, but even with those thorough directions, I still found myself snorting and gasping and heaving for air after "moving my arms" a few times.

So I signed up for "Adult Beginner" swim lessons at the local YMCA. Just signing up for lessons was already victory #1. Showing up on the first day of class in my swimsuit and getting in the pool was victory #2. After that, a bunch of little victories started falling into place. My adorable, spicy, Southern teacher was just what I needed. She showed me "how to breath honey." She had excellent beginner's tools to help me with the rhythm of breathing and moving my arms all together. We started in a 3 foot pool that was about 1/2 the size of a regulation lap pool. It kind of felt like the short bus for swimmers. But I was glad to start somewhere. I tried not to notice the pre-school age kids that had a lesson right after ours. They stared at the grown-ups in their pool. I could read their expressions and questions in their eyes. "Those big people don't know how to swim?" Short pool and pre-schoolers aside, I kept practicing during those 45 minutes of class time.

And then something amazing happened. It was lesson #3. Southern spicy teacher decided to move class into the actual adult pool. She had me do a few drills. I practiced a few new things. Then, she sent me on a lap. Front crawl. The entire length of the pool. And I did it. I got to end and almost wanted to cry. To some, yes that seems silly. Yes. But to me, this was the biggest swimming victory yet. I swam a length of the pool without stopping. I didn't have water up my nose. I didn't swallow a gallon of chlorine. I actually swam. It was a great day. Now I know what Michael Phelps must have felt like when he won 36 gold medals in one afternoon. Totally awesome.

Triathlon anyone? ( I need a bike.)

6 comments:

Grant and Candice said...

How exciting! You crack me up, this post made my day! Good for You!

Kim said...

Congrats! What a great accomplishment!

Michael & Mindy said...

Go you! I'm so proud! That is how I (am hoping I) will feel after my first 5K this week :S I am NOT a runner, but I am trying to learn!

Hamblin Family said...

I have to say that I can't do the whole swim and breath thing either! I can swim and I can breath but not at the same time. I will have to follow in your footsteps and sign up for a class one of these days. Who knows maybe I'll want to do a tryathalon someday!

Karen said...

I am so proud of you!! You took on a challenge and learned to swim. Amazing!!

Shauna said...

Pretty amazing, you are pretty darn amazing....