For 40+ years I was one of those girls at the backyard boogie who didn't want to get her hair wet. Summer holidays, I would wear the cute swimwear and sip on fruity drinks in the shallow end of the pool. I've gone jet skiing, fishing, paddle boarding and done some water aerobics, all without ever really learning how to swim.
This year, I was determined to be able to engage in some real (safe) water play AND exercise, so I took lessons! It might be one of the best decisions of my life.
I initially enrolled in an extension course at a local college. I highly recommend this for adult beginners. If your goal is to become comfortable in the water and learn breathing techniques, this is a great, affordable place to start. The pool is only three feet deep, so you can work on leg and arm techniques, but you can stand up anywhere in the pool.
Three sessions in, I determined I needed more of a hands-on instructing approach, so I started to research other options. This part of the journey is worth noting; It is imperative that you feel comfortable with your swim instructor's teaching style. If your teacher's communication is confusing or causes you to feel less than comfortable/confident, it will become a barrier to your learning.
After a few inquiries and keyboard strokes, I found Conrad Cooper and Londa Parks of swimtome.com (cue heavenly choir sound effect). The lovely Londa manages the business and Conrad is the instructor - they are a great team. Their site touted amazing success stories with children and adults in five consecutive day sessions. That's right, Conrad said he could teach anyone how to swim in five days. *side eye*
So. First day of my sessions with Conrad, I was a few minutes late. I walk in and there were five ladies in the pool. As I prepare to join them, I notice a woman on the side of the pool, in tears. Like, for real crying. Terrified to get in the water. She joins us. We spend 60 minutes in the pool learning how to kick and "swim" from one side of the shallow end to other - all of us, including the curvy curly who was afraid. Hot damn, I was swimming! Then Conrad informs us that this is the last day we'll spend in the shallow end. Huh? Whatchutalkingbout Willis?! He reaffirms that we will, in fact be in the deep end moving forward. *rolls eyes*
Over the next four days, Conrad worked with us on breathing, floating, treading and arms. By Friday we were swimming from one end of the pool to the other. Victory! I was in 10 feet of water, swimming and floating, feeling weightless and free. It was not easy. The most challenging part was getting out of my head and reversing a lifetime of thinking about the "evil water". I did it though, and man listen, you get what you pay for! I will likely take more classes with Conrad to master some things, but for the first time in my life, I look forward to actually swimming at some pool parties this summer.
Thank you, Conrad and Londa!