My second lesson was much more difficult than the first. I went into my first lesson knowing nothing, so I had low expectations of myself. By my second lesson, I expected myself to just know it and was disappointed when I wasn’t a professional.
So we practiced. A lot. And I realized that swimming is hard! I have a new admiration for people who can glide effortlessly through the water.
Since I had already learned the legs and arms of freestyle in my last lesson, we added in side breath this time.
I was grateful to learn through the part/part/whole technique. It allowed me to master legs and arms before adding everything together. Once you put all the pieces together, there are so many things to think about: legs and feet kicking above water, arms scooping at pockets, keeping my chin and head down, blowing bubbles the whole way down, coming to my side with my head on my ear, and breathing. Then, repeating it all.
That’s a lot to focus on!
Then Teacher Jess showed me dolphin kicks. I have never practiced or learned the butterfly stroke. How people move their body that way with is beyond me.
We practiced dolphin kicks a little and then practiced backstroke with arms and then breaststroke.
I left the lesson feeling a little defeated and like I still had so much more to learn.
Thankfully, I came back and my next few lessons were great!
In my third lesson, we practiced freestyle first with the kickboard, then without, and this time, I had the technique down much better! Like all new skills, it simply takes practice!
We practiced dolphin kicks for the butterfly stroke. It’s such a fun and strange stroke and I feel like I am just thrashing through the water as I do it.
At the end of the lesson, I felt like I was starting to remember all the pieces. I felt like my technique was improving and that with practice, I could get this swimming thing down!
When I exited the pool, a parent asked me how long the instructors trained. She thought I was training to be an instructor. That was a huge compliment and I told her I was taking lessons as a customer. She shared with me that she too didn’t know proper swim techniques or how to dive. No water fears, just never learned the proper technique. I am learning there are plenty of adults out there just like me.
By the time my fourth lesson came around, I was getting the hang of things. Freestyle was becoming much more natural and I even channeled my inner mermaid and did some killer dolphin kicks!
I felt more like I was practicing a new skill and less like I was learning something completely foreign.
I realized that like all new skills, learning to swim simply takes practice. It was normal to have bad days and good days. There would be times where I wouldn’t swim well and times where I could do no wrong. I realized though that with time and practice, I would get increasingly better.
I still couldn’t dive though. We tried stand-up dives at the end and I broke form and screamed mid air my first try. I tried a couple more and still didn’t get the hang of it. Hopefully next week!