I Started Swimming Two Months Ago, Here's What I Learnt
Recently, our Head of Swimming and Aquatics, Lyndsey Hollands, received an email from one of her pupils, Barry, with a link to an inspirational and insightful article he had written about learning to swim.
Follow this link, or read below: https://bit.ly/2YBmZpV
When I was younger, my parents would take me to swim lessons every Saturday. They did so because they loved me and it was important for me to learn this survival skill and be healthy. I never really enjoyed it because I felt like I was forced to. It was boring, time-consuming, meaningless or all three. This day, I still remember the feeling of wanting to get out of the pool once I was in the water.
Fast forward to September 2020, I started my penultimate year of school life in the UK. I was filled with hopes and ecstasy, and I wanted to do something new, or something that would put me out of my comfort zone.
I started swimming two months ago, and I loved and enjoyed every moment of it.
2 months may not seem a long period of time. But it’s enough to surprise yourself.
Here’s what I have learnt.
Courage is the ability and strength to confront what seems daunting or dangerous, even though one may be afraid. Deciding to swim wasn’t frightening or painful, it was about plucking up the courage to do something again. I made up my mind and asked to join the swimming academy.
My first session started off with 4 lanes of front crawl. I jumped into the water, feeling its touch and tenderness. I finished the warmup with all the energy I could muster, even though my form wasn’t perfect.
The early sessions drained all my energy every time, leaving me exhausted. I would be gasping and panting in the water, yet feeling accomplished at the end of each session.
The last session before Christmas break, I asked the coach if I had improved my swimming. In fact, I asked her every time and unsurprisingly the answer to my question has always been an encouraging yes. But still, I never really felt too much of a difference in my swimming.
I took some time to reflect on this and stumbled upon this quote.
Change is the only constant.
Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher of the city of Ephesus. His quote tells us that change is occurring continuously. Put it this way, change happens in these infinitely small increments that are hard for the person undergoing change to notice. And yet they compound over time and culminate in profound results.
Before the end of term, my coach wrote an email saying I had come a long way in such a short period of time. (I was quite happy about it.)
Perhaps, life is in a nutshell a finite series of incremental change. You are constantly changing every moment, be it for the better or not. Even in a seemingly short period of time, anyone can change.
My whole body is supported by the gentle buoyancy of water, the contact my muscles feels with it relaxes my body. Swimming as a sports not only teaches me the techniques of various strokes, it’s also a great way to destress my mind from school.
Since I started swimming, I felt more satisfied with myself and I was more stable on the inside. Not only was I enjoying myself in the water, the benefits I was experiencing out of the pool were immense. My overall sleep quality had improved and it became something I looked forward to every two days.
The buoyancy swimming had given me let me stay afloat both in the water and in life. It’s great enjoyment as much as a goal I feel driven to work towards.
My coach spent some time explaining the importance of correct technique in swimming. It’s about maximising each stroke in the water with some basic understanding of biomechanics.
I felt as if I was going with the flow of the water once I learnt the correct form. I harnessed the nature of water and used it to my advantage. It was relaxing in the water because I was going with it, not against it.
The same principle can be said about life. Whether you go with the flow or against it is your choice, you have the ability to turn seemingly unfavourable situations to work in your favour.
We practiced diving in some of the sessions. The instant my face came into contact with the water was a quick twinge. And every dive was a small test of faith in myself, I had to quite literally take a leap of faith and jumped into the water.
Faith is simply knowing that you can achieve anything. It’s a powerful tool that helps you on your way to your dream. Because of faith in myself, I have time and time again surprised myself and people around me.
They say life is like a game, the only difference is that you can only play it once. After that, none of this matters.
That said, I am grateful that I could swim the last two months. I am grateful that I found something I enjoyed. I am grateful that I am living.
Being in the water helped me feel more ‘real’ and ‘alive’. The warmth. The chill. The chlorine smell. The tenderness. All of this is part of life.
If you are still reading this, thank you. I know COVID is hard but don’t forget to do something you like even if you are stuck at home. Talk to your friends, families, people you love. Play the games you enjoy. Read the book you’ve always wanted to. And start living today.
Return to News Articles