I learned to swim by literary being thrown into the deep water. I still remember the panic, my little feet dangling in the air and then the cold strike of the water. I was terrified, struggling for air. It was probably my instincts that kicked in and moved my hands and feet. Those chaotic rapid movements didn’t resemble the swimming maneuvers we practiced the month that preceded that brutal throw. I sincerely hope that nowadays there are less harsh methods to teach kids how to swim. Although, I must admit, brutal as it was, that act was extremely effective, because, well, I learned how to swim.
I was 8 years old at the time, old enough to remember every detail. I recall the joy that filled me after overcoming the intense fright when I was approaching the shallow side of the pool.
Being a timid child I’ve never dipped my toes in the deep side of the pool before that moment, and as I was swimming across I realized that there is no need for me to fear the water anymore. I was in total control.
That realization and that joy have led to a lifetime habit. I’ve been swimming 1mile three times a week since I was 14 years old. By now I’ve accumulated about 5,500 miles. That’s quite an achievement, right?
Swimming, for me, is a way of life. It’s relaxation. It’s meditation. It’s inspiration.
I use my swim time to process emotional experiences, to get away from daily burdens and to write stories in my head. True, I constantly reek of chlorine, but that’s a small price to pay.