Black Girls Swim: Week 3 & 4 - Different Strokes

December 05, 2010


My instructor must have a lot of confidence in my inability to swim, or either he's just trying to graduate me from his class. Either way, week 3 and 4, were dedicated to learning two new strokes. The breast stroke and the butterfly. Let's keep in mind that I hadn't quite exactly gotten the freestyle/flutter kick down. The best example of the breast stroke is a frog. Channeling my inner reptile and all the coordination I could muster, I jumped in the water to attempt the frog-like stroke. One word can describe this and it would be "fail". It takes a huge amount of coordination and impeccable timing to get the stroke exactly right. At this point the mere fact that I was in the pool attempting it was a success, so I tried not to beat myself up too bad. At the end of the lesson, my instructor asked, "Did you play sports in high school?" Flashbacks of junior pro basketball and childhood pudginess immediately came to mind. The closest I came to playing a sport in high school was my infamous one day of practicing with the soccer team. I replied, "No. Absolutely, not." He and the other student looked at me curiously. The other student (the Marine) said, "Oh wow, you really have an athletic physique. You actually look really graceful under water, but in a matter seconds, you come up failing. We always know when you're going to jump up for air." This small, tiny, little compliment, I think was the turning point. It wasn't that I couldn't swim. It was that I didn't have the confidence to swim. Sounds cliche, I know, but I realized my lack of confidence was directly related to my apprehensiveness in the water, which was directly related to my lead-like legs. With that being said, week 4 took a turn for the better. The class began with safety. Blah, blah, blah, boring. I did, however,  jump into the deep end with my life jacket. This was after a few minutes of coaching and encouragement and simply jumping in because the other swimmers were beginning to stare. If you would have seen me in the first class, you would know that this step was monumental. I had never done anything like that in my life. I definitely had a nice adrenaline rush. After covering all the safety techniques, (I mean really, am I really ever going to be stranded in the ocean), we had some "free time" to perfect our strokes. I started out by trying the butterfly ( it's a lost cause). I wanted to see how my freestyle was coming along. Seeing as how I could barely do the freestyle the last time I tried, and that had been several weeks before, I wanted to try my hand at it again. I jumped in the pool and a miracle happened. I swam to the other end of the pool! I jumped out of the water and pumped my fists in the air like I had just won a gold medal. It was the best feeling ever. My instructor and the marine stood there in shock. Heck, I still couldn't believe it. There was only one thing missing, my husband. Bogged down by work, he had to skip the one lesson where I actually swam. I hurried to the locker room and called him. He was speechless. Needless to say, I spent this past weekend showing my husband (and myself) my new found skills. Your girl is swimming laps! I have one more class left. I wonder how I will surprise myself this time.

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