Finally!!!!! I can swim!
It has been a long hard month of swimming and I finally had a break thru! Well, I say a month, but in reality it was 9 lessons – 8 in the pool and one in the lake… I have been trying so hard to figure this out. Katie was so patient and tried new techniques every session to try to help. I just couldn’t seem to get it. I tried everything I could think of…books, articles, videos, different goggles, different ear plugs… fins, kick boards… I felt like I knew what to do but my body wouldn’t cooperate.
I could not breathe. I breathe everyday all day long and have been for 43 years now. I walk, run, hike, cycle…. I breathe a lot. I huff and puff. I take in a lot of oxygen. But for some reason exhaling under water was physically impossible. I could get a little air out but not a lot.
Par for the course, I figured I had mental issues. Something deep down in my pysche was not letting me swim. I don’t remember having any childhood swimming trauma. I don’t ever remember nearly drowning. I didn’t feel afraid. Why couldn’t I get this!
Well, lo and behold, it wasn’t pyschological at all. It was physiological.
I went into Dicks Sporting Goods yesterday (which is odd since I am usually an Academy girl) to buy yet another pair of goggles and a nose clip. These two devices would surely save me. While I was looking a 20-something year old Dicks Sporting Good employee asked if I needed help. Naturally I replied, “yes, you can help me learn how to swim!”. As luck would have it she was a collegiate swimmer and we talked a bit. I told her what I was doing and the things I have tried and how I just could not breathe.
She simply said, “take out the ear plugs”. She explained that is might sound odd but some people cannot exhale while their ears are plugged.
I bought my fancy new goggles and nose clip anyways and headed out. Armed with those and yet another new swimming book I was going to figure this out. Only two more lessons in the pool with Katie. I had to swim.
The rest of the day at work (between e-mails and questions… I DID work, by the way)… I practiced some breathing techniques from the book and practiced my flutter kick while sitting in my chair. I even stood up once and practiced my arms. (I have an office… it’s ok).
Before bed I visualized me successfully doing all these things in the water.
4:15AM. The alarm goes off and I jump out of bed (really!) So excited to get to the pool. I wanted a good hour before Katie got there to warm up and figure this out. I did a series of warm-up drills from the book – bobbing, kicking and such. Just trying to get relaxed and get a feel for the water before the moment of truth.
Here I go… big breathe… under water… EXHALE… the water comes out effortlessly! I do a few bobbing laps with the kickboard. Put the kickboard down and get the fins. Same thing… I can exhale.
I do this for awhile and 6:00AM is fast approaching. Katie will be appearing very soon. Kickboard and fins aside. I am going to swim without any devices.
She comes in and I believe she is shocked. I am swimming! All the things I have been learning have come together. I am so relieved!
Now I just have to build my endurance and improve my techinque. I will be ready for my first triathlon before too long! Yippee!!
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