I have always been sports fanatic, constantly partaking in as much activities as I could- whether it was playing netball, hockey or athletics in high school, or even trying my hand out in volleyball in varsity. Then you had swimming, not exactly on top of list (or any list for that matter). Don’t get me wrong one does enjoy a little dip in the sea when one’s by the beach (more like having a little splash here and there, and running for my life when a high tide would come in). Ironically though, when watching the Olympics one of my favourite sports to watch is swimming.
I think I have never shown any interest in the sport because, firstly- the thought of having to hold my breath and having my face under water was not exactly appealing to me. Second- the fear of drowning given that I’m short and I could not bear the thought of being near the deep-end of the pool. And lastly- I’ve heard that chlorine can ruin your hair so I wasn’t about to take that chance (I know there are swimming caps but come on, some how, some way, your hair still ends up getting wet). Yes, these were real concerns. And not to mention I live inland so if the Tsunami makes its way to South Africa, I think it’s safe to say Jo’burg would not have anything to worry about, so surely swimming was not much of a priority (provided I was in a province that’s not near the sea).
Then came the moment when my boss decided that she would open a swim school and would like it if I worked there as an administrator- I obviously said yes. But you cannot work in a swim school, admin or not, and not know how to swim. So now what seemed futile became imperative, so I took it on the chin and thought “I can do this”. First lesson- a fairly warm morning, and my boss and I assume the pool (which we borrowed for the morning) would be heated (which would obviously make the experience a tad bit better) but that was not the case. The pool is ice cold and the heat hadn’t settled into the day yet (unfortunately no one seems to know how to heat it up except the person who worked there and was not there). I’m thinking “no ways is this happening” but I was already there and IT WAS HAPPENING!! Now there’s my boss who braced herself and went in this ice cold water, and her mentor who was there to give her pointers on how to teach swimming to adults (I was the student they were using) they’re both waiting for me to get into this dreadful water. My body immediately tenses up (why am I doing this) and now there I go- MY GOODNESS NO!!
I’ve never been in such cold water, not even when I’ve been at the beach, getting splashed. But here I was needing to brave through it. Look, they did well in talking me through it and letting me know that my body would get used to the cold but that was just… COLD. There I am going lower and lower into the water, each time with me making these weird screeching sounds, getting into the feel of the pool. I must say each time I was being encouraged, and talked through everything really was great help. Firstly learning how to jog in a circle but not succumbing to the pressure of the water, learning to jump up and down, and learning the ease of floating. I actually ended up gaining more confidence each time we would move onto the next step. I must admit it though, it is not easy getting the hang of having my face under water, blowing bubbles… Really need to work on that.
What seemed to be a challenge actually saw me overcoming it, I actually was complimented for being a fast learner. With that being the case I do look forward to my next lesson… and I am so glad the next one will be in the Splash Aquademy HEATED pool!
-Vanessa, Adult Learn To Swim student