Growing up, my primary school would take us to the local pool every Wednesday, and I would just watch as one by one, my classmates left the baby pool for the Big Bad Pool on The Other Side. Don't get me wrong, of course I'd try, but it was a combination of bad teaching, a lack of confidence, and a fear of drowning that led to me 'graduating' from swimming lessons with a big fat zero. Not even a fucking Dolphin One Award.
Naturally my phobia escalated, and with these memories at hand, I went through the next ten years of my life avoiding contact with water unless it was: in a bath, in the rain, or occasionally in a large bed of H20 with a water-aid in the form of a float. Hydrophobe? I think: yes. But it wasn't a complete No-Man's-Land; something must've gotten through to my brain, for I had residual memories of knowing how to do the breast stroke, mushroom float, and how-not-to-drown-when-lying-on-my-back. Latent memories, things that do stick for life like learning to ride a bike no-handed and look like a complete and utter prat whilst doing so.
With this background in mind, on the 8th April, I finally decided to quick being such a pathetic loser and learn some life skills. It was that, or revision. And in my mind, any form of useful procrastination was better than revising. So, that afternoon, Claud and I took to the waters of Parkside Pools: me scared out of my wits and feeling completely and utterly insecure at just how damn exposing a swimsuit can be. It was OK, I quickly learned that no one gave a crap.
In the first session, with the everlasting patience of Claud, I learnt the proper technique for breast stroke, and my humiliation at being crapper than the children half my age there gave me the resolve to NOT go for one of the damn floaty things. After a bit of faffing around, Claud convinced me to go to the forbidden zone i.e. the Deep End, the One Terror that I had managed to avoid for the duration of my entire existence. Not gonna lie, I was shit scared. But like a ray of guiding light, Claud took my hand and literally (yes, literally) led me to the deep end and made me go down to the bottom to try to get over my fear. Yes, it was as deep as I'd thought it was. Yes, I thought I was going to die. But...I didn't. And surprisingly, it was OK. I also learnt how to tread water, and left the pool in ecstatics at having braved the One Terror. Next stop: attempting a length.
That happened a week later, and this time, I swam TWO WHOLE LENGTHS, learned that it was OK to put my head underwater whilst swimming, and treaded water as if there was going to be a tomorrow. Hallelujah and all that jazz. We celebrated by getting Chinese takeout and updating my Facebook status with an edited lyric from The Lonely Island's song entitled I Just Had Sex:
~ ♫ i just swam a length (for the first time ever), and it fe-elt so gooood (felt so good) ♪ ♫
15 April at 22:27
(guess that counteracted my one small step away from loser-dom)
Today though, was the big big day in which I completely got into the game. I came into the pool determined to do five lengths, and with the encouragement of a stranger from Catz, managed to swim TWENTY WHOLE LENGTHS.
I could not (and still can't) believe how far I've come in just three sessions. Gives me so much hope in my degree; that if I do apply my mind then I can actually achieve results. Maybe there is still hope for me yet as a Nat Sci...!