At age 5, I learned how to swim like most normal kids. Between the age of 5 and 32 I “swam” a handful of times. I’ve never felt comfortable in the water. And open water, even Lake Michigan, FREAKS me out. In that long timespan, I also forgot how to breathe underwater. I know, pathetic.
Why I decided to sign up for swim lessons:
Holy crap. I am going to learn how to swim.
- BC and I have a big trip planned and he wants to go Riverboarding. Basically, it’s whitewater rafting… on a boogie board. Insane, yes. Am I one to miss out on a vacation adventure, no. The river boarding site states you must be able to swim and feel confident in the water. I can’t swim, I tarzan swim. I am most definitely not confident in the water.
- I’ve been spinning almost every damn day for weeks since I am on running hiatus. It’s great cardio and I do enjoy it, but do something you don’t love day in and day out? It gets boring. The elliptical does nothing for me. Stairs and rowing are fine, but boring after 15 minutes.
The health club where I belong has swim instruction, but the class times were not ideal. Instead, I signed up for adult learn to swim lessons through the local YMCA. Because I am not a member, it was $196. That sticker price seemed a little steep, but what do I know since I’ve never taken anything through the Y or participated in aquatic classes?
What to bring to your first Swim Lesson:
- Wear your swimsuit – rocket science, huh?
- Bring goggles, your peepers will thank you
- Bring a towel for after
- If you have long hair, a swim cap really helps
- When putting on said swim cap, do it with wet hair. I lost a handful of hair battling that plastic over my dry hair.
- Rinse off before entering pool
- Flip flops. Germs are nasty.
What to expect at your first Swim Lesson:
My first class I was so nervous that I almost scrapped the entire idea and didn’t show. But $196 is a lot of money and BC assured me it wouldn’t be bad the first session. Six lanes and 7 students, we all climbed into the pool. I was relieved to see they were nervous, too.
We started by bobbing up and down, practicing blowing air out from your nose under water and breathing in through your mouth when you popped above the surface. Ok, I could actually do that! Confidence booster.
The students learn how to float. Belly up, piece of cake. Tummy down, my legs would not float. Confidence buster.
Next, we learn how to flutter kick our feet. Loose ankles, movement only from the knee down, holding onto the side of the pool for support. This is easy. Confidence booster.
Once our kick is figured out, we discover hand and arm movements. Pulling your individual arms back almost in a check mark motion. Standing in the shallow end, I place my head under water and practice the arm movements. My arms feel pretty comfortable. Confidence booster.
Adding the breathing, we move our arms in the water and breathe while placing our faces in the water, pretending to complete a swim stoke. While I am stationary I can handle the breathing. Confidence booster.
Now, we try to put those pieces together. Inside my head I panicked and screamed, “Already?” Yes, I think my instructor jumped the gun. Each time I tried to breathe out of the water, I inhaled water through my nose (ouch) or swallowed it in my mouth (disgusting). I spent 15 minutes trying to ‘put the pieces together’ but I could not get the breathing right for the life of me. Confidence buster.
That is why there are seven more weeks to practice, learn and perfect!
Practicing individually until the next lesson:
A few days after my first lesson, I settled in to a lane at my gym and practiced swimming laps and breathing while kicking and using a boogie board to float my arms. This made my breathing easier, less rapid (panicked) and helped me get into a rhythm. Naturally, when I removed the board and tried to swim with my arms, I began drinking water again. Sigh.
Trying to nail the breathing I tried a drill. Breathing, kicking and floating my arms on the boogie board but trying to replicate how I was breathing. It seems I stop exhaling too early as I bring my head up to breath, and then I’m too delayed in exhaling once I look back in the water. With some practice, I have gotten the breathing down.
This third week, every swim is becoming more comfortable and I am actually enjoying my time in the pool! I am moving at glacial speed and feel super self concious with other swimmers (real swimmers) are in the pool. But practice makes perfect, eh?