Over the summer, I signed the kids up for swimming lessons at the YMCA pool. Because it costs about the same amount to pay for a membership and the lessons as paying for the lessons alone without a membership, I decided to just sign up for the membership so that our family can take advantage of the other activities offered.
At the back of my mind, I was also thinking that I could get back into swimming. I have had an interesting relationship with the pool since elementary school. When I was in the 4th grade, we took a two-week swimming course at one of the few schools in the county that had a pool. I remember having fun jumping into the pool from the side. Fifth grade was our last year in elementary school and to celebrate graduating from elementary school, the teachers arranged a pool party.
We were enjoying ourselves in the pool splashing and playing Marco Polo. Then, a few of my friends decided to go down the water slide. I thought that would be fun to do and my friends encouraged me. So, I climbed up the ladder and slid down into the water. That's when I realized two weeks of swimming lessons was not enough to give me the skills I needed to go down the water slide! I didn't know what to do and so I did nothing. I kept going down, down, down... Luckily, a lifeguard came to my rescue and pulled me out of the water. I was scared and mortified. Since then, I'd had a fear of the deep end of the pool.
Fast forward to sophomore year in college. I had to take some PE classes to satisfy the university's graduation requirements. I decided I needed to learn to swim so I signed up for a beginner swimming class. It was nice to know I wasn't the only one who couldn't swim! I barely passed the class only because I managed to just tread water a little bit. That was really hard for me since we had to do it in the diving pool, which had one depth: 12 feet.
Fast forward again. Now I'm married and have a one-year-old. I wanted to do something to improve my health and I decided to get back into swimming. I took swimming lessons at the community center. At the first class, the teacher asked what level we are and I told her I was intermediate. She asked my group to use the kick-boards to warm up. So, I got on the kick-board and start off down the pool. At about the middle, I got tired so I decided to stop to take a break, not realizing that it was deeper than I'd thought. So, I floundered and had to be rescued by a lifeguard. What little confidence I had gained from my college swimming class was wiped out by this unexpected incident. I nervously continued the class at the beginner level. Luckily, the teacher was patient and understanding. I was eventually able to swim laps again and started going on my own to swim laps at the pool. The deep end was still scary but I managed to push my fears aside.
That was almost six years ago. Last month, I again decided to get back into swimming. I'd been working out and running regularly and felt pretty good about my physical fitness. With winter approaching, I felt like I needed to find another activity to be involved in so I wasn't running on the treadmill inside all the time. So I signed up for private swimming lessons at the YMCA. Every pool is different; some pools start at three feet and have one corner that's deeper, other pools start shallow at one end and drop down to 12 feet about halfway. I found myself having to re-acclimate myself to the water and to the configuration of the pool each time. This time, it took me a couple of lessons to be able to swim in the deep end. I was determined to get over this fear and went to practice on my own in between lessons so that I could make better progress and get my money's worth from the private sessions with my teacher.
For the past few weeks, I've been going to swim laps early in the mornings instead of running because it's not fun to run in the cold, dark, and windy Wyoming dawn. I am not where I want to be yet but I know that with time and practice, I will improve.