To Swim or not to Swim

To Swim or not to Swim

Swimming and Me

My uncle taught me to swim, apparently.

However the family stories were all about how he hardly had to show me anything I was a natural and took to the water like a mermaid.

In the last year of primary school  the class were taken to the pool each week for lessons.  I knew the three main strokes and had quite a bit of stamina in the water too. The instructor put me in the advanced group where I started to train for life saving certificates.

This continued into secondary school and my best friend started attending a swimming club. I should have gone along too but disliked the rigorous routine she told me about – regarding training sessions and galas. But I still went to the local pool for fun and exercise now and then.


Many years passed by and I became pregnant with my first child. The books said to stay fit and exercise. It would help with the labour and also reduces the amount of weight put on during pregnancy. I was not likely to get too big but enjoyed being in the water and the way it supported my baby bump and made me feel as if I was flying.

I started gong every other day and the young life guard would nod to me each time I emerged from the changing room and watched me grow in size.

My due day came and went but I kept on Swimming. The day before I went into labour The nice young guard spoke to me for the first time.

“Hey, you are swimming great. When are you due.”

I told him,

“Last Week.”

The poor chap nearly fell from his look out post.

Darling Near Miss Swam

Darling Near Miss was born and from a young age I took her swimming but initially she would scream and scream. So I stopped. But knowing it was great for kids to swim I started taking her to the pool to watch others enjoying them selves in the water and gradually by the time she was four she wanted to try. I took her every week and we simply enjoyed having fun. Then when she was nearly six I signed her up at the local center and she joined in some ducking classes.

Her teacher was astounded at how quickly she picked up front crawl and advanced through the levels. I enjoyed watching her and seeing her progress but also the fun she was having. Proud of her new skills.

Club Swimming

Then one day when she was seven we were swimming at the local pool and as we were about to leave got approached by this guy. He explained he ran the “starter level” at the swimming club and wanted my daughter to try out. She was eager so we went along.

He watched her stokes and timed her and came over to me all smiles. Would I agree to her joining the club? It would involve two sessions a week. And so the merry-go-round began.

You see the trouble was Darling Near Miss was rather good. She had the correct purchase on the water which meant when she swam she seemed to skim the surface. Advancing to the first competitive rung the new coach took me aside and said that from his experience he felt she could possibly go all the way. I wasn’t sure what it meant but boggled at the thought.

Next came galas. Darling Near Miss was only ten and already they wanted her to attend four times a week. I was keeping it down to three and making sure she had plenty of fun pool time too.

At the end of her first competitive year she had several medals plus the second fastest county times in two strokes.  They selected her to swim for them, in her age group. Plus she was encouraged to attend a special workshop with other talented young swimmers from around the country. Two of which eventually swam for England.

Darling Near Miss did not.

End of the Pool

The club wanted her to start training at 5am! Neither my daughter or I was keen. We decided she would take a six month break from club swimming.

Three months later we were involved in a car crash which left her badly injured and socially anxious. She never did return. Her health and happiness became more important than galas. Rightfully so.

Thoughts on Swimming

In my opinion if the kids weren’t pushed so heavily from a young age there would not be such a drop of from this sport.

I always wondered if Darling Near Miss was so proficient at swimming because I had swam consistently with her in my tummy 😉

I still love to swim and used it as my chosen exercise to help recover from a knee injury.

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Swim or not to Swim #140

15 thoughts on “To Swim or not to Swim

  1. I’m sure you swimming while Darling Near Miss was in your tummy was what made her so proficient May. I hope she stills swims and enjoys the water for leisure, and is also less anxious.

  2. I had to laugh about the conversation you had with the young guard after your due date.
    I was like Darling Near Miss when I was first taken swimming but certainly wasn’t good at swimming like her! (in fact, swimming is my least favourite activity and sport) I also wonder if all this pressure ruins it for a lot of people. I don’t think it’s worth it doing from such a young age. Kids should just be kids first.

    1. the pressure is outrageous i think it is because it is a sport that brits do well and so the clubs are trying to get them young but that does but always work out well x

  3. Both my daughters got their NLS—that’s the highest level of swimming you can get. I used to enjoy watching them swim. They looked so effortless and so graceful. But they never competed. And I’m actually glad of that.

  4. Lovely narrative in this post May. I too swam as my pregnancy exercise – in a pool near work and 1 of my colleagues did a double take when I emerged from the changing room in my costume! Obviously my pregnancy clothes disguised how much of an “egg on legs” I was becoming! I’m glad you helped your daughter keep the training in perspective – it does get very serious quickly.

  5. I’d like to think that that early swimming for her helped. My eldest daughter enjoyed a James Brown concert like that. Her mother said there was a lot of kicking going on during the show.

    And I am so glad you like to swim, one of my favorite images of you is in the water.

  6. Swimming is not something I have ever enjoyed that much although I wish I did. I didn’t go much as a child as there wasn’t a pool anywhere near so I can swim but don’t enjoy being in the water. You must have been really proud of your daughter doing so well. I know what you mean about other things being more important though ?

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