I have already written about my aim to learn to swim. The decision to stop writing each week an entry of progress was the right one, as I felt under too much pressure to perform. To be honest, the progress had been very slow and the biggest success was the ability to paddle around the pool on my back with my float. Going on my front, even with the help of my water crutches was, and still is beyond me, apart from two strokes to the steps.
However, David (Swim instructor) watching me from a distance last week and recovering from surgery said to me:
“He couldn’t wait to get back into the pool because I was next on his hit list.”
Tonight, I had resigned myself to a splash about, as I was told my usual lady instructors were unwell. In the water, I splashed about and thought that I was getting no where. Thoughts crept in: sadly I told myself,”I am not going to do this ever am I?”
But then David appeared from no where. He was back and I was not going to get away with defeat that easily. He took me to the deep end of the baby pool. I protested loudly, having never been that far up the deeper end, but off I followed. He took hold of my float and threw it away:
“You don’t need that anymore.”
I howled I did need my float but he was not going to let me get away with it.
Once, we got over the: “by-the -way, grab me where you need to, I am not going to mind bit” I was tipped onto my back, him just holding my neck and lower back. The panic, Oh God, the panic but there was no where to go but keep up. We started off and he started to hold me less. I screamed out, the whole pool must have heard:
“Don’t let me go, Don’t let me go, I am so frightened.”
He didn’t and we got to the end. My new non-swimming friend looked over by the steps looking all concerned and horrified. I was encouraged to float on my front, with my waddle this time and stand up, that was hard and I floundered. Back on my back the torture continued. This man said to me:
“You are not getting out of this pool until you have achieved something.”
Back on my back I continued up and down. Then suddenly I SAW his hands above me and I was still going. I didn’t panic. I didn’t think. I just kept going and with an almighty gasp finished and staggered up, with a bit of neck support.
I HAD DONE IT. I HAD SWAM AND A GOOD HALF WIDTH.
With that we turned round and started again. A bit wobbly this time. More work on standing up. This man pushed and pushed me to my limits but it was electric because I had done it and it felt so liberating and free. In the end with more howls of protest- knowing it was useless as he would have none of it, I did the unthinkable. I placed both feet high on the wall, fingers holding the side and launched off on my back by myself and swam with him just behind me.
I couldn’t believe it. I had gone in the pool thinking it was business as usual. Another night by the steps and I came out having achieved what seemed unbelievable when I got in. Going on my front is for next week with my waddle. He is so kind indeed,(tongue- in -cheek), but no more float when I am on my back. It’s gone forever.
After the session, I text my friend saying I had swam on my own and with no float. I would have text another friend interested in my progress, but he is currently on holiday with his wife in Italy and I didn’t want to disturb his vacation; so he will either read this, or I will contact him once he is on our shores again.
At the end of the text message I said:
“Praise the Lord,” but thinking about it, (if the good Lord doesn’t mind, and if he is there and exists any way), I think I will praise myself instead on this occasion.
In the end, I knew I needed this kind of push and was glad he had done it. The instructor said that if he hadn’t had done what he intended to do at the start, I was going to be floundering by the steps forever. He knew I could do it, having watched me the week before.He calls it his carrot and stick approach. I just had to believe I could do it too.
Oh, for next week’s lesson. The fun and horror will continue of that is certain. But a big hurdle in my mind has been jumped clean high for me tonight.
Hooray! I am going to celebrate.