Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I've been taking swimming lessons

Shall I tell you the entire story? Oh, why not. It's my blog and I'll do what I like. So there. But I will wait until you make yourself a tea or grab a sandwich...................

Okay, so here's the story. About 15 years ago I went to see a psychic. Among other things she knew I couldn't swim and told me that learning to do so would be one of the tasks I'd have to complete in this life. She also said I drowned in a previous life. How cool was that?

Anyway, I went to the Y and found a lifeguard who taught me the basics for free on a Saturday afternoon... floating and treading water. Finally I was unafraid of the water. A few months later Scott and I found ourselves in Jamaica and I went snorkelling for the first time ever. It was so beautiful I cried. It was the highlight of my trip. I could have done without the part where I was told by the boat captain to jump off the back of the boat into the water. I was never taught to jump in just to lower myself daintily into the pool. That was 10 minutes of whining and bargaining I'll never get back. Another shining moment in my life.

Since then I've been to pools, lakes, rivers and "swam". Jumped into deep water, treaded it like nobody's business, did the doggie paddle like a prize Newfoundland and when I got tired I floated on my back lazily in the sun. I participated in watersports and basically lived my summers like a bobbing buoy.

Fast forward to last summer's triathlon. Confident in my swimming ability, I get in the water with about 99 other yellow swim-capped participants. I hear the gun. I put my face in the water and start windmilling my arms. When I get tired I stand up and look around (the water portion takes place in boob deep water parallel to a sandy beach). Almost everyone had gone and I had only moved about 25 metres. Reality dawns. I. Can't. Swim.

I never really realized that not being afraid of the water, being able to float, being able to tread water, even swimming underwater and doing handstands, doesn't mean I can actually propel myself forward in any way shape or form. I started running (thank goodness for the water aerobics classes) and I came out of the water 3rd from last. In front of a lady that must have been 89 years old and a young girl that was looking for the timing chip that had fortunately for me fallen off her ankle in the melee at the gun. I made up for the non-swim during the bike portion and ended up 12th overall. Not too shabby. Imagine the damage I could do if I could actually swim?

Which brings us to this weekend. See, I made a promise to myself to learn to swim properly before the next tri this August. I already signed up for it so I'd better make good. I had my second lesson on Sunday afternoon. In 2 classes I've already learned 3 strokes (front and back crawls and breast stroke), did a few trick jumps, did a kneeling dive and even jumped off the diving board. Hell, I've never been prouder of myself. I can finally swim. Now if only I could rock a bathing suit and find a way to remind myself to shave my bikini area before I see all that lovely hair while practicing egg-beater kicks at the side of the pool. Then my summer would be perfect.

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