I have always had a fascination with water. It is gorgeous, calming and sometimes massive, such as the case of the ocean. That is what always had me in awe.
I have always admired those that could swim, and I wanted to do the same.
The local YMCA, or the Y as I called it, was of no help. I would say this is where it all started.
I would go there every day after school and play with the other students on the playground or indoors. Then one fateful day I discovered the pool. My eyes were opened to a whole new world, a world of water.
I begged my parents to buy me a swimsuit and let me try it out. They were hesitant, but I eventually got my way.
So then the big day finally came. After school, I went to the Y and ran inside to the locker room to quickly put on my suit. I walked to the kiddie pool, taking the ‘no running’ signs seriously, and put one foot in. It wasn’t too bad.
I jumped the rest of the way in, and then I started drowning. Or so I thought, because at the time little ole me totally spaced on the fact that I could just stand up.
After floundering around for a bit, I used my brain and stood up.
I looked around, embarrassed out of my mind. There was an old lady staring at me, and I wondered how it was possible for her to stare at a drowning girl and not do anything. Where was the lifeguard? Where was anyone?
My adult mind now realizes there was no need because I was not in danger, unless being young and dumb counted as danger.
I had thought swimming looked so easy, a simple process in which you become one with the water or something like that.
No, swimming takes effort, energy and skill. I mean, it is an Olympic sport, for crying out loud.
I was determined to learn how to swim. I asked all my school mates for advice. I even watched my mom’s old water aerobics VHS workout videos.
The Y had swim tests that determined whether or not someone was ready to swim in the big pool, which had a six-foot-deep end. If you could swim from the shallow end to the deep end and back, then you were allowed in the big pool.
I needed to be in the big pool. It was the cool pool, and I wanted to be cool.
I headed over to the life guard and told him I was ready for my test. I got in the water at the shallow end, and he gave me the go ahead. I started swimming. Before I knew it, I had made it to the deep end and back.
I was so proud of myself until the lifeguard informed me I had failed. I asked why and he told me that when I came up for air, I took two gulps of air instead of one. That was the only reason.
When crying didn’t change his mind I got out, rinsed off and waited for my dad to pick me up.
When I told him what happened, he agreed with the lifeguard.
I was so mad at him for agreeing that I thought about running away from home. I reconsidered that idea because I had nowhere to go, and instead I sucked it up and moved on to my next adventure, which was becoming queen of the jungle gym.
I did pretty well with that, and the drive I had for swimming was replaced with jumping off of the swing set without breaking any bones.
I never really returned to learning how to swim after that.
Of course, I have ventured back into the water, just nothing too crazy. And I still love the ocean, just from a distance.