Today is an unusual day as I embark on an unusual feat. It’s day one of my adult swimming lessons.
It’s not that I haven’t attempted this before, it’s just that I have not succeeded.
It’s not just that I can’t swim, but I try to avoid it at all costs. It’s an awkward and fearful event for me.
You see, many years ago in the early 2000s, I was well aware that I couldn’t swim but attempted to flounder around in the water in our highschool swimming pool. The pool was at least 25metres long and on one side around 1.8 meters deep. I knew that. So I would always avoid that side. After all, I couldn’t swim remember.
Then one day, I was again in swimming class, surrounded by fellow students and the sports teacher as I began gradually moving my way up the water deeper, and deeper, all the while holding on to the swimming lane dividers. Those big hard plastic flotation-style rope that connected one side of the pool to the other.
As the time gently moved by, I all of a sudden found myself in the deep end, when my hands lost grip and sight of the rope. I tripped myself up and suddenly found myself frantically reaching for it with no luck. What felt like hours, and as my body weakened, I continued to bop under the water, as I desperately tried to propel myself upwards with little luck. I recall waving my hands up, calling out for help, and seeing dozens of classmates playing around me. No one heard me. No one was listening. I was about to drown.
Then in the last ounce of strength I had, I tried an alternative approach, I figured that perhaps if I reached over to the right-hand side, I could reach the swimming pool ledge instead. I tried and tried, reaching my fingertips, slowly touching the broken blue marbled tiles and floating away. One, two, three…I finally got it! As a clawed my fingers onto the broken tiles, I gripped as hard as I could to propel myself towards the swimming pool wall. Then I lunged up and over, only to collapse on the hard concrete floor beside, shaken and shivering.
I rocked back and forth until moments later classmates noticed me and called out for help. I coughed up some water, took in some air, and rested in the corner until the rest of the class finished.
Despite surviving this very scary ordeal, it scarred me. I feared ever stepping foot into the deep end of a swimming pool and refused to go past knee level in the ocean.
Starting today, I try again, today I plan to overcome this fear. Yep, it’s time to sink or swim.