Its a beginner level class for those who either can’t swim, aren’t comfortable in the water or just haven’t swam in any way requiring endurance. First off, let me just say our instructor was wonderful! She was very encouraging and not afraid to give constructive criticism/advice on what we needed to work on. She also worked us!! She had us use a couple different things to aid in our technique (paddle board, a dumb bell shaped wedge you hold between your legs). Both give you an “assist” in the water. The wedge allows you to concentrate on your arm movement – I liked that one a lot, since it gave me “help” and allowed me to concentrate on my arm movement and rotary breathing without trying to coordinate how I should be kicking (flutter kick btw).
She had us swim a half length and back with one of each. Swim with both aides and then with none. Then we did one full length. At the end, she had us swim with just the paddle board, 6 half lengths of the pool. Even though the class was only 40 minutes in length, I was feeling the effort in my shoulders and calves (I think I may be pointing my toes too much). We worked on our flutter kicks, crawl stroke and rotary breathing (three strokes, then breath as your bringing your arm up out of the water. Three more strokes, breath on the other side as your arm comes out of the water).
I think I would have done a bit better, had I made the time to go out and buy my earplugs and goggles – not making the time to do that is my own fault. I’m also investing in a proper fitness swimsuit. I’m not bosomy by any stretch of the imagination, but I can see why the full front coverage would be more comfortable in the water (as in not having to constantly adjust the top part of my suit).
While I can swim, I am not terribly comfortable in the water and thus, not a strong swimmer. Ever since childhood, I have been plagued by ear/hearing problems. As a child I suffered numerous ear infections, in addition to having a progressive form of hearing loss. I’ve had tubes in my ears and surgeries to remove scarring (which impacted my hearing) and to repair a perforated right eardrum (from the tube in that ear).
So, as a child swimming meant “Don’t get water in your ears!” I still have to use earplugs. Even with the earplugs, I developed the habit of swimming keeping my head above the water (Um…maybe because I often “forgot” my earplugs). I can swim under water with earplugs in, but having not learned proper breathing technique for swimming, I can’t for very long. Also, in some situations, I find it very hard to relax enough to swim under water or swim with my face in the water (snorkeling especially). So, while I’m not afraid of the water, I want to become more than a “Lanai pool swimmer.”
This past Tuesday, I walked into the lesson, preoccupied with the thoughts that everyone would notice how I didn’t belong in the pool. That people I know, would be laughing at me or concerned about my physical ability to do this. I walked out, realizing that instead of mocking me…those that knew me, were happy I was trying something new. I also left the lesson in two frames of mind – annoyed I had so much to work on and thrilled (Ok, and a bit scared) that I’m actually attempting something so outside my comfort zone. I have to get over thinking of myself as un-athletic. Instead, I need to focus on BEING athletic in the “being fit” sense of the term. Being athletic isn’t about medals or personal bests…its about paying attention to how the physical is tied to the mental and the spiritual.
And sometimes, its just about getting in the pool.