Monday, November 07, 2016

A toe in the water - wherein I learn to swim (again)

Four weeks ago I literally took the plunge and took up an adult swimming class after quite some period of hmm'ing and haw'ing. Now at this early point my vanity feels the need to point out that I can swim, I was blessed to have had the opportunity to learn in school and even spent what felt like an age treading water in a pair of pyjamas as a test of the ability to 'survive' falling in water fully clothed! My swimming, then and since, consists of breast-stroke and not a great deal else. Front-crawl, or freestyle swimming, was always a mystery to me and I never completed any more than 25m without having to stop have a coughing fit, put large volumes of the pool back in its proper place, and catch my breath.

So my reasons for joining a class were more about improvement, and essentially so that I could keep up with my children and wife who are all 'regulars'. My notion was that if I learned to know what I was talking about with the different strokes then I would be able to engage with and encourage the kids even more than I already do. My wife is not perhaps entirely keen as it might look like I am trying to cross into something that is very much her thing, but I have promised that once I deem myself proficient I will stop classes and use it only as an aid to my running training (my friendly neighbourhood physiotherapist keeps insisting swimming will do me the power of good - and to be fair so far it looks like he knows his stuff).

So I have been going along on Thursday evenings to the Cardiff International Pool adult swimming lessons and experiencing into a whole new exercise world. It has been hard from a point of view of base fitness particularly was in the first week I swam easily more front crawl than I have in the whole rest of my life previously. The atmosphere is great, we are all newbies together, and the coaching team are super experienced and moreover good fun. After four weeks I can't say that I love front crawl yet, but I am getting there. My biggest challenge has been explaining why I am pretty proficient at all the other strokes, though this now is a source of humour as I get gently teased about it each week.

As a new challenge it is fantastic, and I certainly see the sport from a whole new angle. Even though I have sat on the side watching my kids classes for the past three years or so it isn't the same as getting in the water and experiencing the process. Six more weeks to go in this block of lessons, and I think I will need perhaps one more block to get to where I want to be... but I guess we'll just see.