Jaws… Piranha… Watching those movies at a time when parents didn’t really care about age restrictions probably scarred me for life. Which is why I don’t go in the sea deeper than ankle depth, why I don’t swim in dams or rivers (Impi Challenge is another story altogether), and why I get a full-on panic attack (and will probably beat you up) when somebody pushes me into any body of water. OK, so I have some serious mortality issues…
I’ve always longed to be a graceful swimmer; more comfortable in the water. Sadly, I’m less dolphin and more giraffe, especially when I put my face in the water and the panic sets in.
Case 1: Dreadful Diving
My friend Lynne, an experienced diver and amazing swimmer, decided that it was time for me to learn how to swim under water. My first task was to collect the coins she had left on the bottom of the Long Street Baths pool. No matter how I tried, I floated like a cork and Lynne almost drowned from laughing so hard.
Case 2: Scary Snorkeling
Da Husband and I went to Bali in 2001 – at the time he was still Da Boyfriend – and he wanted to share his love of all things sea-related with me. Snorkeling sounded like a safe option, or so he thought. He should have smelled a rat when I insisted on wearing a life jacket. Then the dude on the boat, together with Da Husband, had to forcibly remove me from the side of the boat, where I was stuck like a limpet. I didn’t even last 5 minutes…
So why enter a triathlon where swimming is, well, kinda a requirement? Hell, I don’t know. I blame possible childhood head injuries.
Swim Session Part 1
When coach Steve sent out his swim session e-mail, I quickly skimmed over the time and venue and made a mental note that I had to look for my swim cap. Then I re-read the e-mail and realised that yesterday’s session would include a 300m time trial.
I was a little early for the training session, but as everyone started to arrive, I took one look at the group and immediately made peace with the fact that I would once again be the fattie in the back and that I would be in the slow lane.
I didn’t even get a number at the end of my time trial, that’s how slow I was!! In the end I stayed in the slow lane with two other women… at least I wasn’t alone!
Then the intern started walking alongside the pool where I was swimming and I realised that he looked slightly worried. And the next thing I knew Steve waited for me at the other end going, “Er… Leonie… are you afraid to put your head in the water?”
DUUUUUUUUUUDE – Didn’t I say that in my mail??? I’m not one of those overly humble people who pretend to be crap and end up winning all the gold medals!
So my homework is simple: I need to get my face in the water and not start flailing about in panic whenever a drop of water touches the inside of my nose. He mentioned something about lying face-down in the bath… But I DO love my life, so I’m going to spend some extra time at the gym in the interest of making progress.
OH, and we did some serious drills. Swimming with one arm (which I sucked at). Doing this weird chicken wing move to improve our upper arm form (which I sucked at). Swimming with our fists closed (which I sucked at). Dolphin diving (which I sucked at). Sight-swimming with our heads above water (now THERE’s something I could do!!)
I fear I may have torn a chicken wing because my biceps feel like pieces of lead today.
Provided that I do my homework and work on my fear issues, next week can only be better. Or worse, but only time will tell.
Now… does anyone know how I can add webbing between my toes to make me faster?