So I’ve never liked to swim, even as a kid. I always got water up my nose and in my eyes and I just didn’t like it. I don’t remember ever taking lessons beyond the “here is how to survive enough to pass your deep water test to be allowed on the diving board.” I definitely never learned how to breathe without taking my head completely out of the water. I was never on the summer swim team at the pool and actually told my gym teacher in high school that I was allergic to chlorine to get out of swimming. Part of it is that I just hate being bad at things, and I was bad at swimming. Like awful. So I avoided it.

Then I decide to do a triathlon. Makes sense right, you know never really having biked before and hating swimming. But I had made up my mind so it was time to learn to swim. By this point in my life my mindset had changed too. I mean I still hate being bad at things but I love a challenge even more.

So December 1, 2010 I put on a brand new 1-piece swimsuit, my first ever swim cap (which took me like 4 tries to get on my head) and goggles (which I bought because they were pink, not realizing they were tinted and thus made me look like a tool in my indoor, dark pool). Great! So I look around and see a few 70+ year old guys giding along and I’m like “how hard can this be?”

Umm, hard.

I had zero clue what I was doing. I didn’t know you were supposed to breathe out under water. I couldn’t coordinate my arms so that I could turn my head to breathe, I was slapping the water so hard there was a wake behind me that could have been made by a boat, I swallowed half the water in the pool and I was at about a 45* angle with my legs sinking behind me.

I couldn’t even make it 1 lap. And that was when I thought a lap was just 1 length.

Everyone actually stopped what they were doing to see the commotion I was causing. It was quite the spectacle. I stood up and said “well…looks like I have some work to do!” and someone told me to get the book “Total Immersion” which I did. I also starting watching youtube swim videos like they were best show ever. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that literally, it could only get better from there. Slowly but surely over the next 3 months I made improvements. I worked really hard and it did not come without its frustrations. But the more time I spent in the water the better I felt and I was so proud of myself when I could first swim an actual lap, and then 2, and then 3!

My goal for each workout was to swim 10 laps, which, with rests usually took me about 25-30 minutes (I just swam that in 11 minutes a few days ago!!) The first day that I did those 10 laps without stopping I stood up and victoriously shouted “I just swam 500 meters!!! That’s been my goal for so long!” To which the lifeguard responded “you know this pool is in yards, right?” (500 yards= 457.2 meters) Geez, I just couldn’t catch a break!

I still have a long way to go….it’s still not even close to being easy, but every day that I get in that pool I am proud of myself. I’ve come so far already and I really can’t wait to see how good I can get!

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