i don’t know how to swim. it’s true. i never learned. i never had the chance since i grew up in a desert and only the rich and filthy rich had swimming pools. i didn’t have the slightest motivation to learn either.
the small community centre beside our apartment building has a swimming pool. Eunice’s Swimming School is in charge of the pool and provides lessons as well. they have beginner classes, intermediate, and advanced as well.
lunato knows how to swim but she hasn’t swam (swum ?) for a more than a few months. late last year, we decided to enroll in the Beginners’ class together. the fee is decent enough and the classes are once a week. we choose monday evenings.
our instructor is a kid named Max. i call him a kid because he really is a kid. only 16 years old and yet an expert swimmer. he teaches 10 classes per week!
when we first met, max was a bit confused as to how to teach us. he told us that he has never had “adult” students before so he was’t sure what approach to take. i asked him to consider me a complete novice and perhaps it would be better if he taught us the same way he teaches children who are learning. honestly, if you had thrown me in a pool i would’ve sunk to the bottom and probably drowned myself while frantically trying to reach the surface.
but that has changed now! i can swim! i’m being very liberal when i use the term “swim.” i can move from one end of the pool to the middle and back without any styrofoam boards. i can float. well, i can float as long as i am at the shallow end of the pool because the deep end is still a bit scary. i want to call that swimming :)
last week we were learning how to float on our backs, turn ourselves on our stomach and then back again. the first twist is easy for me and i can go from my back facing the cieling to my stomach facing the cieling. but the second twist is too difficult and i can’t seem to do it properly without completely disorienting myself. lunato was having the exact same difficulty. the first twist is ok, the second difficult.
lunato is so much better than i am. when i swim it’s as if a typhoon is passing through the pool.. water flying everywhere! i can see water droplets flying from my feet and landing in front of my face. with all that power, i still move so slowly in the pool. lunato and i would start at the same time but a dozen seconds later, which seem like centuries to me, she would be at the end waiting for me. annoying!
it took a long time to convince me to actually sign up for the classes. i kept complaining that even though it is a “life skill”, in 26 years of existence, i have never had to say to myself, “gee, i wish i was able to swim right now.”
another reason, and probably the main reason, for my unwillingness to sign up was that i would be half naked. lunato actually wanted to buy me a speedo (never in a million years would i put that on!) but i totally refused. i wouldn’t even touch one. swimming shorts are, of course, better than speedos, but still…….. as i said, i grew up in a desert and never had a chance to swim. in highschool i didn’t have to join gym class. in university, i didn’t have a reason, means, or partner to learn swimming with. so i was too shy about the whole idea. i kept imaging people would look at me, point and laugh at my unimpressive build. stupid, idiotic, and probably egoistic of me to think that way.. but i was shy and that is a fact.
on the day of the first lesson i was having second thoughts about the whole thing but thankfully lunato didn’t give up on me and forced me to try it out for at least one lesson. i enjoyed it immensely. i look forward to each monday evening now. there are usually less than half a dozen people at the pool at the time and they are swimming as well so hey everyone is naked! that helped to overcome my shyness.
each instructor has a maximum number of three students at a time and there are only two instructors in the pool at any given time. max only had lunato and me as his evening students for the first four weeks. last week another woman joined our group. she is a beginner as well so she fits well in our tiny group of adults learning how to survive. the more the merrier i suppose.
at the end of each class, we go over to the deep end of the pool and max asks us to jump in. the idea is to get rid of our, or rather just mine since lunato is ok with the jump, fear of water.
i put one leg at the edge of the pool. the other leg a step back. i lift my arms horizontally on each side. when max says “Go!” i force my brain to act. that takes about 5 seconds of convincing myself. max is already in the pool waiting to help me incase something goes awry.
5 seconds later i’ve convinced myself that i can do this!
i step forward and into the pool while moving my arms forward at the same time. after making a big splash and finding myself in the deep end with the bottom of the pool about 2 metres away, i panic. i force myself to be logical about the situation and i start pushing myself upward. once i hit the surface, i start moving my legs and try to reach the side of the pool as fast as i can.
phewh, made it. time to go home. until next week!