All my life I’ve been a nose plugger. Anytime I swam, or my face had to go into the water I plugged my nose. I hated the feeling of water up in my nose…and it limited what I could do in the water. At the beginning of my swim lessons 6 weeks ago, this was the first of many obstacles that I had to overcome. It took 4 lessons for me to beat the fear. And once I did, it only took me one week to put the breathing together with the crawl stroke. I felt strong! I kept telling myself I would get it…and I did.
Now as I swim down the lane, I find myself just going through the motions. I don’t have to think about the breathing, or the stroke…it just comes naturally.
A similar fear arose again when beginning to tackle the flip turn. As I began the somersault and was focusing on so many things at once I forgot to breathe appropriately and I took in water. Over and over this was the case. Determined to learn it, I kept trying again and again, and flip after flip the water would fill my sinuses.
The July class ended, and a new one began. A new teacher, and a new classmate. Isabel, my teacher, is 19. She is the sweetest, most encouraging young woman. She’s as excited to teach, as I am to learn. Julianne, my classmate, like my previous classmates, is a new swimmer who is training for a triathlon.
Last night I swam, down and back trying over and over to flip-turn, improving with each effort, telling myself “You will get it, keep trying. You can do it!” By the end I swam down the lane, went into the flip-turn, my legs came to my chest, as my feet found the wall, thrusting, my head tucked, my hands stretched taut in front of me, my feet kicking, I glided perfectly through the water. As I surfaced, smiling ear to ear, I gasped a full breath and stroked my way down the lane. Excited, I HAD DONE IT!!! I laughed all the way down the pool. As I approached the other end of the pool again I executed a near perfect flip-turn and swam out of it. I swam to about half way and rolled on my back. Out of breath I was exultant! Thrilled at my progress, tingling with accomplishment, I allowed myself to feel every feeling…I felt more alive than possibly ever before. THIS is exactly what I was hoping for…what I needed.
When I had regained my breath I rolled back over and swam to the other end of the pool. Isabel exclaimed what great flip-turns I had done, and how she KNEW I could do it! My fists thrust into the air and I slapped the water. It was an absolute thrill! As we spoke Julianne came over and my breath still catches as I think about what she said… “You guys make it look so easy, your stroke is so graceful!” I beamed…could she possibly be talking about me? What I realized last night is that I’m a swimmer…a REAL swimmer. I still have a ways to go to be able to check it off my list, but I’m almost there…and can I just say….WHOOO HOOO!!! YEAH BABY! J.