Learning to Swim

Swimming Pool
Some friends of mine are taking adult swim classes- whenever I read that on the calendar I think: do you have to wear pasties and G-strings? No, no no. It’s all very nice and mellow, about seven folks in their 30s with an instructor, in the 5ft. part of the Y, late at night on Mondays, learning the intricacies of the basic strokes. Like adults to overanalyze something that came to you naturally. Or did it?

I remember an instructor teaching me at around 5, how to blow bubbles in the water. You’re a tractor tug or something. It took days during summer of just hanging on the side of the wall blowing bubbles.

My mom thought it was imperative that we learn to swim. She has a very graceful dive into the water, swimming cap on, one piece, elegantly done with just a small area of water disturbed as she swims to through to the rest of her laps. Boring, we would yawn, then sink to the bottom of the deep end and play Monster, or dive for silver dollars that Andy the Lifeguard (later to be Andy my sister’s bff’s husband) would throw for us. On one of those return trips from a silver dollar dive, I would chip my tooth against the side of the pool wall- yes, you can have accidents in the pool. Tea party was hard to explain to my grown-up swimming friends. “You sit on the bottom of the pool and pretend to drink tea. It’s fun!”

My dad’s approach would be to drag us kids to the deep end to teach us some life lesson about fear, which really just instilled fear, as he wasn’t a strong swimmer and we had that kid’s ESP that picked up on parent’s anxiety.

My cousin Patty is a strong swimmer, and where my mom left off, Patty picked up with coach like zeal. Not surprised that her daughter is a national champion swimmer, now that I come to think of it. When she found out I was going for swim team she took me earnestly up to the pool in the mornings and taught me the flip turn, the butterfly, interval breathing, all that fun Pro stuff. I didn’t make the team, more because I could never feel comfortable in goggles, and my swim team tryouts was the most intense competition I think I’ve ever been up against. Take 100 girls taht grew up with swim pools in affluent suburbia and make them compete. Whew! Cheerleader tryouts, seriously, were not this fiendish. I did learn, in the summer leading up to that tryout, that exercising every day was totally possible for a nerdy girl like me.