As a Floridian, most people assume I grew up on the beach and/or in a pool.
True, I have always lived within a 15minute drive to a beach. I have always known someone with a pool.
Most people assume I'm a kick ass swimmer, because 1) I've lived by water my entire life, and I have a broad back.
I'm not really sure what the broad back has much to do with swimming, but it sure hasn't helped me much.
I didn't learn to swim until I was 8, a few months shy of being 9.
It wasn't from lack of trying. When I was four, my mom enrolled me in summer swimming lessons at the public pool at G.T. Bray Park a mere five minute car ride from the house.
I was in a class with other kids my age. The first class, we were expected to sit on one of the lower steps of the pool, with only our eyes and nose out of the water. We were learning how to breath under water. I panicked, and wound up having to be removed from the class. One of the instructors took me out of the pool, wrapped me in my towel, and took me to the concession stand for a lolly pop.
The second day, we were expected to let go of the edge of the pool, without swim rings on.
Again, I was removed from the class.
The third day, my mom joined me, and I was moved to the class level below the preschoolers.
It was a Mommy and Me styled class, in the kiddie pool, where we paddled along and played in the water. I loved that pool at four years of age, I was already taller than other kids my age, I towered over the other kids in the group. I think I was the only potty trained kid. I could stand in the middle of the pool and still have my upper body be completely out of the water.
By the end of the sessions, the mommy and me kids were all comfortable in the water and ready for the next level.
All of the kids in the class I had been booted from were all swimming well enough they were allowed to jump off the diving board into the deep end.
When I did learn to swim, four years later, it was by accident. I was in the deep end of a hotel pool. I had gotten there by walking along the edge of the pool, and i lost my grip on the edge and in a frantic paddle, I was able to stay afloat.
I had quit wearing swim rings by that point, because they were a pain to keep on, so I always just hung onto the edge if I couldn't tough the bottom.
Now, at the age of 25, I can dog paddle, tread water, and float.
I have never been able to dive to the bottom, and I have no plans on ever needing to do so. I can keep myself afloat, and am fairly certain that in an emergency I could keep another person afloat also.
I have never been a fan of diving boards, or even jumping off the edge. I was always a "walk out and swim back" type of gal.
Now, I need to dive into depths unknown.
Watching the slow decay, first written 2. Jan. 2009
4 months ago