Swimming through the years

February 4, 2009

When I was in the fourth (third?) grade, my family joined a local swimming and tennis club.  The club had a swim team and I really wanted to join.  I can’t remember if this required convincing my parents or if they supported the idea from the beginning.  I would not blame them if they resisted the idea – swim teams take up a lot of time!  Regardless, I got to join as did my brothers.

Up until that point, my experience with swimming involved long summer days at the neighbor’s pool.  We played Marco Polo, held onto river rocks so we would sink to the bottom and raced each other underwater.  At the first practice, I did just that – took a deep breath, submerged myself and swam the length of the pool.  When I came up for air, the coach said something to the effect of “What was that?!”  My initial reaction was mortification.  I expected the coach to be impressed with my amazing swimming ability, not to tell me I did it all wrong.

As the mortification subsided, stubbornness moved in to take its place.  I was going to show that coach that I could swim if it killed me.  It took some time – the first length of “real” swimming nearly did kill me, but I gradually picked it up.  I don’t remember much about the season, but I do remember that I earned a spot on a relay team (I did backstroke) and we won a lot.  At the season end pizza party, I received a small trophy for “most improved” in my age group.  That trophy meant a lot to me.

After that year, we quit the club and the swim team and that is the last time I swam competitively.  Last night, I got into a pool for the first time in nearly three years.  Things went better than I thought they would.  My stamina needs a lot of work, but my body retained the muscle memory of how “real swimming” goes.  By the end of practice, the coach kicked me out of the beginner group and put me with the advanced swimmers.  So, hooray for that.


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