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Archive for July 20th, 2012

Swimming has always been a big part of my life. I remember biking every day of the summer to the local swimming pool, to meet with friends and cool off from the summer heat. The public pool was a place of memories and fun.

It was also, for a short time, a place of total and utter humiliation.

I was about thirteen when my parents signed me up for swimming lessons the first time. Imagine a five foot giant surrounded by half a dozen preschoolers and you will get the full image of my experience.

Thankfully, within a week of lessons, I had progressed to a group where I was not the tallest in the pool (other than the instructor). I had never become an exceptional swimmer, but I loved the water.

When our children were born, swimming was a skill that they learned about the same time that they could walk. I never wanted them to be in water and not be able to stay afloat.

When we bought our current home, complete with a swimming pool, I went out and bought a life jacket for our youngest, who was not yet a swimmer. The nightmares that I experienced over purchasing a house with a pool, kept me sleep-deprived for weeks.

Within a week of being in our pool, our son with swimming like a fish.

My eldest daughter teaches swim lessons, at our pool, as well as at the swimming pools of her clients. She also coaches for a swim club. Swimming has been a huge part of her life.

She often speaks of how young children (toddlers and younger) are eager to enter the water, but it is the non-swimming adults who experience and express fear of water the most.

I was recently speaking with someone who is fearful of the water, and showing them how to float (ah the starfish float, my first swimming lesson). The person (adult) responded, “I have tried, but it is impossible for me to float.”

It is true that this person cannot float, but it is not her physical body that cannot float, it is the fear within her mind, because she has not committed to learning to swim that makes her sink. And there is no reason for this fear to continue, as adult-based swim lessons can be very appropriate and beneficial.

Recently, near our home community, two people died due to non-swimming. One was a young child (under the age of two), who jumped or fell into a swimming pool. The child’s grandmother jumped in to save her grandchild, but, as a non-swimmer, she herself also drowned.

Now a family mourns not one, but two people.

Do yourself, and those around you, who you love, a favor, learn to swim.

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