Swimming lessons: You can lead a runner to water, but can you really teach her to swim?

Doggy Paddle Olympics

Seems I can’t stop eating humble pie.

Yesterday was my first adult swim lesson. OMG. Terrible, terrible. I hopped in the pool at my local Swim Labs thinking, “Hell yes, I’ve so got this. I’ve been killing it in the pool for months; SURELY they’re going to tell me I should try out for the US Swim Team.” Yeah, um… right. Not only did seeing my half neked body underwater in my makes-me-look-like-a-fat a** swimsuit completely suck, but turns out my form looks like something out of the doggy paddle Olympics.

Here’s how it all went down:

For months, Hubs and I have known we needed to get some professional help in the pool. While he’s been busy trying to build his underwater endurance, I, on the other hand, have been up late at night watching every “how to not drown” video I could find on YouTube. (Note: Don’t bother – after what I learned yesterday, nearly every tip I tried to teach myself is wrong.)

So back to yesterday.

With our suits on and our towels, goggles and caps in hand, we check in at one of two places in town that swears they’ll help you swim faster… faster. (I didn’t make that up, it’s their tagline.) Anyhoo… once we pay their fees, we’re handed a 712 page packet of info outlining the laws and rules of swim world.

Which read something like:

  • Do not sh*t in the water.
  • If you do sh*t in the water, you’ll be charged for lost revenue while that pool is closed for cleaning.
  • No diapers.
  • If you drown, we’re not liable.
  • If you do drown, who would you like us to call?

Note: While they do help train wanna-be triathletes, their bread and butter is obviously swimming lessons for the little people.

After hanging out for a few minutes in their reeks of chlorine lobby, our names are called. We file into the pool area, strip down and hop in. (Hubs in one pool, me in the other.)

With above and below water cameras rolling, my instructor says, “Okay BK, show me what you’re working with.” I take a deep breath and proceed to bust out what I think is my A-level, Olympic-style form. After 30 seconds he shuts off the machine and says, “Hooboy. Okay. Here’s what’s up.”

He walks me through three things I need to work on pronto:

  1. The first is keeping my face down in the water. (Not just my eyes.)
  2. The second is my kick. (Apparently, I’ve got the skills of a can-can girl.)
  3. Third is my breathing. (I hold my breath for far too long which not only wipes out my power, but it causes me to drag my a** through the water, too.)

After talking me through these initial changes, I try again. It’s marginally better, but nowhere near good enough.

I make my way back to the monitors for round 2 of you suck.

My instructor again walks me through what’s not working. He then pulls up a video of an Olympic sprint swimmer to show me how my form should look.

OMG. The gap between where I am and where I need to be is ginormous.

With only a few minutes left in my 30-minute session, he has me strap on a swimming snorkel and give it one last go. Within 10 seconds, I’ve snorted more chlorine than is allowed by law, so I stand up, rip the snorkel out of my mouth and with tears in my chemical burned eyes cry, “Uncle! Mercy! Enough!”

Because time is up, I turn toward the edge of the pool. There are now 43 kids standing on deck waiting for me to move my old, feeble, chlorine poisoned a** out of the way so they can have their turn. So I crawl out, grab my gym bag and make my way toward a changing room.

On the way out the door, they hand us our DVDs. (As if I need a reminder.) As we’re driving home, Hubs and I can’t help but laugh about how bad we are.

We also can’t help but thank our lucky stars that neither one of us had to write a check because we crapped our pants in the water.



P.S. All joking aside, Swim Labs is fabulous. Their facility is state-of-the-art and their instructors are top shelf. Click here to see if there’s one in your area. (Nope, this isn’t a paid endorsement.)

P.S.S. I can’t be the only one eating humble pie ‘round here – what are you working on right now that has you thinking, OMG? Swimming? Running? Biking? Yoga? Come chat me up at www.facebook.com/BrooksFirstMarathon

P.S.S.S. Seems I’m still making amateur mistakes – after my 12 mile run on Saturday I got home only to realize my back chaffed. (It’s happened before so should have known better… ugh.) 

back chaffing 3.19.14

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