It all started the year they built the new pool for the high school. It was a beautiful facility with a kiddies pool and a ginormous laned pool with a roped off "deep end" for the low and high dives. Best thing about it - they were going to offer free swimming lessons to the public!
Up until this time we had been swimming in a stock tank my dad had brought home. There it sat on our back porch - this huge round metal tank about 3 feet high filled with water and the neighborhood kids splashing and having fun. Our favorite part was to get everyone to the side and then we would all swim or run around the edge which would start a swirling motion with the water and we'd all stop together and get carried by the swirling current of water! That was the best!
So the year the pool opened my mother signed my sister and I up for the free swimming lessons. Every morning for two weeks my sister and I would put on our swim suits, grab our towels, put on our zori's* and walk over to the pool for our lessons.
Did I mention it was in Phoenix, in the summer where the pavement was so hot if you stopped your zori's would melt to it? Did I mention that we had to walk about 3/4 of a mile to the pool and that part of that walk was across a vacant lot where "sticker" plants covered the ground and every time you stepped on one it would stab your foot through your zori? Sorry I digress.
Once at the pool we would go through "testing" to find out which group we would be assigned. I hated testing! It was during testing that I learned a few things about myself:
- I'm afraid of water
- I'm claustrophobic and water on my face terrifies me
- That because of #1 & 2 every year I was put into the beginners group.
Turtle float? Childs play! Treading water? Oh please - can we say beginner!! Back stroke? Easy peasy! Dead Man Float? There's no one better! See I figured if I was ever in a situation where I had to save myself in water I'd better have a backup plan - since by "their" definition I couldn't "swim".
Which brings me back to today. Today I did 16 laps (1/4 mile) in the gym pool! Ok, I admit I "wrupfl'd" them - a combo of walk, run, paddle & float, but I did it! No, it wasn't pretty, no it wasn't really "swimming" by "their" standards but it worked! It got the job done.
Today you may have to "Wrupfl" it. You may have to make adjustments. You may have challenges. You may have fears and anxiety about going off plan or succeeding on the program. The key will be to just do it. Do it even if it isn't pretty. Do it even if "they" say it's not regulation. Even if you have to stay in the beginner class every day for the rest of your life - JUST DO IT!! What ever it takes. By doing it you just might be able to save your life!!
*Originally flip-flops were called zori's after the Japanese sandal style.
Original Post Date: Jul 20, 2010