Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An account of adult swimming lessons - Part 1

So, ever since I wrote this post, I haven't talked much about the whole swimming thing. The good news is that I have been to two swimming lessons so far.

The first lesson, I arrived ridiculously early. It was snowing, and I had to drive into the city, so I wanted to give myself some leeway. I sat in the car killing time and reading flyers for a while (nothing else to read in the car), then I headed into the pool to get changed and showered.

I figured it would take me a few minutes to do that, right? Well no. Since going to the pool a few times with the kids, I've gotten into the habit of putting my swimsuit on under my clothes, so I was done in no time. Once I was showered, there was really no turning back. So, I ended up standing on the pool deck, waiting, almost 20 minutes before my lesson started.

I figured I should look interested in what was going on in the pool. Then I wouldn't look like a dork whose terrified of starting a lesson. *Must unclench hands that are holding the towel.*

I scanned the pool and watched all the children's lessons. I also took note of the instructors. The very very young instructors. I started wondering how much my pride was going to hurt me. Could I handle taking a lesson from a 16 year old? Somebody, that in different circumstances, I could have taught myself?

The minutes ticked by, and I was very much regretting my promptness. How did I go from being chronically late for everything to standing dripping on a pool deck for 20 minutes?

About 7 minutes before the lesson started, a nervous looking girl walked past me to the other end of the pool. A comrade? I wasn't sure, but she'd gone right past me and I wasn't going to give up my somewhat secure spot off to the side.

A few minutes later, another woman came out. She looked around and saw me standing there. "Are you here for the adult lesson?" she asked. (I later found out her name is Trish - rhymes with fish) I told her I was and mentioned I thought the other girl might be as well. "Yeah, she looks scared too," said Trish. A few minutes later, we were joined by Julie whom, it turns out, has as little swimming experience as me and is even more nervous about swimming.

Before long, our instructor waved us over. He turned out to be a confident 20-something year old man named David. Definitely younger then me, but not a meek teenager. The class had about 10 people in it, but all at different levels. As in, there's people that are strong swimmers looking for stroke refinement together with those of us that can barely dog paddle.

David, however, was up for the challenge. He started off by getting everybody to float and find out what level we were at. Little by little, people graduated from the beginner section and got sent out to swim laps with various instructions, while he dealt with us "high maintenance people". Turns out Trish used to swim a lot, so she started doing laps early on. Julie, myself and another man named David (not to be confused with instructor David) were the obvious, start from scratch beginners.

I was starting to wonder if my goal of doing a triathlon in a year was a bit lofty. We did very little actual swimming that first class. Most of the time was spent floating, and doing "rocket ships", where we shot ourselves off the wall. Having so many levels in one class meant that David spent a lot of time giving instructions to all the different participants.

By the end of the first lesson, I was feeling more comfortable with the water. I've realized that floating is easy for me - possibly because my body composition still contains a significant amount of fat, but whatever. By the time I'm more muscle, I should be a better swimmer, so it's all good. For now, I can be confident in the fact that I will float to the surface even if I'm in over my head.

*This is getting long, so I'll continue with part two later...

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