Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Splish Splash ...

... I was takin’ a bath....

Wait, wait. I was actually takin’ a swim. But all the same I was a-splishin’ and a’splashin’, reelin’ with the feelin’, movin’ and a’groovin’. In short, my first lesson was Tuesday evening, and it was terrific. As you can tell by the great legs, that’s me on the far right. I can’t remember if we were reelin’ or groovin’ at the time.

I’m still, of course, a terrible swimmer, but I learned a lot, got a great workout, and confirmed that I will eventually be able to do something that roughly resembles this, if slowly and with little grace.

Our teacher (there are four of us grown-up students (the others are easily young enough to be my children) asked me if I had a problem putting my face underwater. “Not unless I try to breath at the same time,” I told her. Which actually wasn’t a joke. She did a double take and handed me one of those little foam boards. Soon, though, I tossed the prop and was submerging, blowing bubbles, kicking, and waving my arms around. In the past, this has usually meant I was headed down for the third time, but this time it meant, delightfully, that I was engaged in some facsimile of swimming.

I bought some goggles. (As with backpacking, style is everything in natation. One of those elastic hats is next. It’ll look good on the hills, as well.) I learned about taking a shower before you get into the pool. (Incredulous look meets obvious explanation.) I was reminded by nature that my trunks would fall down if I didn’t tie the waist string.

I learned two or three basic but vital tips no one had ever bothered to tell me and I’d never managed to notice. The most helpful to me was, “Don’t take a super deep breath before you submerge. Just relax, breathe in normally, remember to blow out under water, and come up for air when you need to.” This had the effect of making me feel more easy and comfortable in the water. (The coming up for air is still inelegant, and clearly will remain so for awhile, but when I get that head-turn coordinated, I think I’ll be off to the races.)

And I got a really good workout. That wonderful feeling of muscles (the few I have left) well-used.

Great stuff, really good teacher(s), fun classmates. A cool and useful new thing to learn. And a challenging goal that’s still within the realm of possibility. I really do want to swim that mile.


Anonymous said...

While you're learning to breathe, learn to do it on both sides! This will help a lot for triathlons and will save having to re-learn bilateral breathing later on.
-your loving daughter

Mark Alvarez said...

Does B feel this would be wise?