7 Things I’ve Learnt Through Taking Adult Swimming Lessons

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Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

So I never learnt how to swim as a child – thanks mum and dad.  But I love the idea of swimming. And I do love a challenge. So I decided to muster up the courage to take adult swimming lessons, and let me tell you this shit isn’t easy. But as with any mission, you learn a thing or two along the way. So without further adieu, here’s what I’ve learnt jumping into a swimming pool at 26.

1. Apparently I can’t breath

Now if there’s one thing I thought I’d already mastered, it was breathing – but apparently this is only applicable whilst I have two feet firmly planted on the floor. Who knew taking a breath whilst swimming could be so bloody hard! I’m talking about the front crawl specifically here. My mind and body are taking their sweet time getting used to coordinating my arm, leg and head movement on this one. 

2. I’m more self-conscious than I thought

So I’m happy with my body – but only when it’s wrapped up in warm layers. When I put on my swimming costume I feel very exposed and self-conscious. At the swimming pool I can feel myself rushing to submerge myself in the water. I’m a fan of long sleeves and tights, even in warmer weather, so forgoing my layers has been a bit of a challenge. I’m hoping with time I’ll stop feeling so nakey. 

3. I’m confused about whether I’m experiencing fear or a lack of confidence?

OK so I understand how to do the front crawl and can do it, kind of. But when I get half way in the pool, specifically to the point where my feet no longer touch the floor, I stop. It’s like my body is on autopilot, it knows exactly where to stop and it does it automatically. My heart is beating fast, almost like I’m having an adrenaline rush at the thought of going any further. I’ve gone further – but only with a float. I’m not really sure with this one whether it all stems from fear or lack of confidence, perhaps a mix of both?

4. My eyes are green not brown

OK, so I’ll admit I’m a teeny bit – no very, envious of people who can swim. I see kids and adults splashing around the pool like it’s second nature and there I am clinging onto the side for dear life. I know you shouldn’t compare yourself with others, but what I wouldn’t give to be able to jump into the deep end and complete a full length!

5. My desire to overcome a challenge outweighs all else

In the pool I’m basically a splashing, spluttering tangle of brown limbs. It’s a little embarrassing, especially when there’s a ten year old in the next lane swimming like The Little Mermaid. Despite feeling embarrassed, my desire to swim a complete length without stopping outweighs everything else. I love setting myself fitness goals and I’m sure as hell determined to smash this one soon.

6. It’s more common than I realised

I take lessons in a group of 10. The class is mixed when it comes to age, ranging from early twenties to late fifties. But it is predominately made of up ethnic minorities like myself. I know a lot of my friends and family can’t swim. I think it boils down to our parents pushing studying over extra curricular activities when we were younger. But it’s nice learning to swim with other people, kinda feels like a little family bonding over a common desire to avoid drowning.

7. If I have kids, they’ll be swimming from day dot

OK, so if I have children one day, I’m going to take them swimming from the get go. I know the struggles of learning as an adult, and I don’t want my kids to have to deal with any of the above. I mean if they then turn around and say they hate it further down the line, that’s fine, I won’t force them to go – but I intend to equip them with this basic skill at the very least.


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