Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Swimming - week 4 - My Left Foot

Well, four weeks into learning to swim, and yet again, a few hurdles cleared and few new ones rear their ugly heads!

Straight into the water today - not even down the steps, and once the goggles were in place my head was under the water. Yeah, no problem!

After a few easy warm up lengths of the pool with Sue holding the floaty bar thing, we tried to carry on from where i had been up to last week with "swimming" without a floaty thing. Again, i was able to do a few strokes with no major issues, and this week i was managing to get my arm/leg co-ordination a bit better. I found that if i hooked my forefingers together after each arm stroke while i did my legs, my arms had less of a tendency to want to move as well. I was trying to imagine a piece of string went from my arms to my legs, so that as i moved my arms forward at the end of the stroke my legs started on their bit. This helped a bit, but once i was able to think less about my arms and shift the concentration purely to the legs, that was much better. (of course, while all of this was going on i totally forgot about breathing!)

This was ok, but my legs were really not "snapping" together in the kick phase of the stroke, and i wasn't actually moving in the water that much. More concentration was required, and eventually i got it to work, but, then my feet were not at the correct angle! (ballet feet rather than frog feet) - this was yet another thing to try to concentrate on! As a mere man, two things is about the maximum i can do at a time, so this was a problem.....

We then tried just pushing myself away from the wall with my feet and gliding through the water. After a couple of goes, this wasn't too bad. That is, until i tried to move my limbs after the glide. I managed it after a few goes, and even swam almost half a length of the pool in the end (i know what you are thinking - but just how long is the pool Mike? 10 feet? hahaha)

Overall, i think i did pretty well today, and Sue was full of praise and encouragement as always - i have come a very long way in a month. Less than 4 hours in the water, and i have gone from a quivering wreck who wanted to hold onto the edge all the time, to being able to (kind of, in a fashion) swim a few strokes on my own.

More importantly, i now feel totally comfortable being in the water, less afraid of drowning, happy to stick my head under, and am beginning to understand why those who can swim love the feeling so much.

Next week, we are going to work on my lop-sided leg stroke - my left leg being the big problem, my co-ordination some more, and being able to stop and stand up in the water without grabbing for Sue's arm - something that i wasn't even aware that i was doing!

The challenge continues, and i am more determined than ever to succeed. Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Swimming Lessons

Well, after three lessons in the swimming pool at the Village Hotel, a minor miracle has happened.
I no longer sit on the edge of the pool, white as a sheet, with just my feet in the water, not wanting to go any further.
I get into the water quite happily, move around more than an arms reach from the edge of the pool, stick my head fully underwater and try to float with very little aid, and today I actually swam!!!
Well, I suppose a more accurate description would be that I moved my arms and legs with no support (human or otherwise) for about 3 or 4 strokes without drowning or panicking. (The panic did start to set in when I realised what I was actually doing!)
No, I still can't swim, but I have made massive progress in a short time and overcome so many of my fears that it is truly amazing.
My dreadful lack of co-ordination is going to be the biggest hurdle now - I have to not only remember to move my arms and legs separately (not all 4 limbs at the same time - struggling with that concept), but also to blow out while my face is in the water and only breathe in when it is OUT of the water.
That's four things I have to remember. I am a man, and it is a well known fact that we cannot multi-task!
Two things I can handle (I can blow out and move my arms), add anything else into the mix and it falls apart!! I have tried just holding my breath so that I can take that part out of the equation, but it simply is not possible to hold your breath for the entire 45 minute lesson.
Apparently my left leg won't move in the same way as my right one, so I tend to go at a bit of an angle. I was asked if I had ever injured it, but to my knowledge I haven't, so I am just a bit lop-sided I guess!
I will get there, just not as quickly as I would like. I have to be patient and keep practising hard.
Without doubt, I couldn't have achieved what I have without a superb teacher - someone who gives me the confidence to push myself and who I have absolute trust in.
But, I also have to give myself a bit of a pat on the back for actually giving it a go and doing everything she asks of me.
Usually, when I really put my mind to it, I can do things, learn new skills or improve on old ones. It seems that I still can. There is life in the old bear yet!!
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