Tonight was my fourth swim lesson. My gym sells adult swim lessons in packages of 4, and I bought a package a little desperately in May. I was super-stressed about that triathlon swim, and I was hoping that some quick instruction would spur a magical turnaround. After two lessons, though, I came down with a miserable case of swimmer's ear. After the triathlon I didn't feel the same urgency about improving my swimming, and so I wound up squeezing in the last two lessons just before the package expired.
All of you who told me to take swim lessons were right. I have this chronic problem with admitting that I haven't yet learned something. I'm working on it, but it's hard. My fear of swim lessons was not rational. I knew it was not rational. It still took me a long time to surmount.
Back in May I had scrabbled my way to a point at which I could swim a length of freestyle faster than a length of breaststroke. Unfortunately, a length of freestyle left me hanging breathlessly on the side of the pool, panting miserably and bewailing my decision to sign up for a triathlon. Tonight my instructor was timing me while introducing various tweaks. It wasn't the best performance I could have put in: I forgot to take my arrhythmia meds and so I was working harder than usual, and we were in the hot pool because the lap pool was too crowded. But even under those circumstances, I can swim a length of freestyle 30% faster now than I could in May, and instead of clinging desperately to the side of the pool at the end, I can turn around and do it again.
So that's part of why I'm happy I took swim lessons. It's not the only reason, though. A few weeks ago I took the kids to the pool and I watched them go down the water slides. "That looks like fun," I thought to myself, so I ran up the stairs to join them at the top. "Mom!" they said. "You're going to slide with us!" It wasn't that I ever thought I'd drown at the bottom of the water slide in years past; it just seemed...icky and uncomfortable and as if maybe there actually was a kraken who used that spot as his hunting ground. I sort of thought that doing a triathlon was a selfish goal-- something just for me. It turns out that the process of getting myself more comfortable in the water has been fun for my family as well.