Last summer, at age 41, I decided I really should learn how to add swimming as a recovery exercise. It’s relaxing, not to mention, how great it feels to jump into a pool after a humid summer run. The problem though: I really don’t know how to swim efficiently. I can avoid drowning while in the water, and that is about the extent of my swimming abilities. As a kid, I spent plenty of time at the pool, and had a few sporadic lessons. I lived in a small town where there was no such thing as a “swim team.” I just didn’t have the opportunity to learn the strokes.
I decided to learn the freestyle. Step 1: Erica said I needed a swim cap and goggles. Check. Step 2: Kimberly suggested I watch some swimming instructional videos online. Check. The videos helped get me thinking in the right direction, but I found I was still struggling to make it across the pool. Something was still wrong, but I was clueless.
Step 3: Take a couple swim lessons from a swim instructor. I met the instructor at our pool, and it turned out, he was maybe 19 years old. Great. I’m learning how to swim from a teenager? How embarrassing. He made me feel a little better by saying he thought it was great that I was learning a new skill no matter my age. Thanks, I think. It was actually really helpful to have someone start with the basics, breaking up each part of the freestyle. Later, he had me put it all together and gave me pointers. It helped to have someone watch me swim and advise me on what I didn’t have quite right. By the end of my second lesson, I had at least moved beyond looking like a cat thrown into the water.
It has been 9 long months since my last freestyle effort. Summer is here, so this week, I got back into the pool to practice again for the first time this year. It looks like I am back to swimming like a cat, so I plan to get another lesson or two soon. I even bought what would be considered a proper swimsuit for swimming laps. Ha! Maybe a 40-something year old CAN learn new tricks.