Learning to Swim
February 5, 2024

I was eight years old before I learned how to swim. I’m saying water was quite a frightful thing for me, but I persevered.  There is a community pool about 5 miles from the house. The pool is called Clearlake.  Every summer they gave swim classes for a small fee. My mother enrolled me in a beginners class when I was six.  I was excited that I was going to learn how to swim. They started the lessons in June every year. The class lasted 8 weeks. After the 8 weeks were over, I had to have a test to make sure I passed. I was asked to swim all the way across the pool without stopping to rest.  I cannot make it all the way across. This meant I failed the course. I realized then, that I would have to repeat beginners the next summer because they only taught it once during the summer. Needless to say, this is very upsetting for me. It meant I couldn’t go to the intermediate class the next year.

My mother encouraged me to take the beginners class over again the following summer. I told her I would try. There were not many extra activities she would let me try because she always said “we don’t have the money.” I hated this answer, but always accepted it because I knew we did not have the money a lot of people seemed to have. Therefore, I decided since I was asked to take the class again, I should not miss out on this opportunity. They did not come very often.

So I went to swimming class the next year. My mother encouraged me once again. I asked if I could get another swimsuit. Of course, she said she would. I got a two-piece suit for the new lessons. Eight weeks of hoping upon hope that I would pass class crossing the pool without stopping! Well, you guessed right, I did not pass once again! I was so broken-P.S. plea, I couldn’t believe I didn’t pass the second time around. I’m so disappointed in myself.  All of a sudden, I thought to myself, you can do this! It felt like a light bulb going off on the top of my head. I can see the light. I walked up to the side of the pool that was just past the rope. This is what separates the shallow end from the deeper end of the pool. I looked into the water and decided this was as good a time as any, so I leaped into the water and started swimming like I was born to be a swimmer. I thought, “this must be what it’s like to be a fish!”

I knew I would have to wait for next year to take beginners over again, but I felt confident in my ability to now swim.  Which would mean I could go into the intermediate swim class following next year’s beginner class since it is taught right after.

This is exactly how it happened. Good advice, “Never give up on whatever it is you want in life.” It is sometimes easier said than done, but well worth the hard work to get there. I continued swimming. Passed all my lessons with flying colors! I even started on the pool swim team when I was ten. I was pretty good at competitive swimming until I was about fifteen. Then my interests started changing. Boys, of course!!