Swimming, Diving, and Fear

So, along with the multitude of projects going on right now, I’ve been utterly fascinated by all things Sports Aquatics.

Particularly diving.

Suddenly… it is what I need to be doing, and my brain is playing catch up.

 

When I was about 6 or 7, I remember taking swimming lessons at Shadle Park High School in Spokane. They had a huge Olympic sized outdoor pool and a shorter but deeper indoor pool with a diving board.

At first, it was fun to just splash and explore around the edge of the outside pool; I was so short, I couldn’t walk very far away from the wall, and didn’t feel confident enough to venture too far.

Swimming lessons were fun. I don’t remember too much about them, except I distinctly remember Really Liking(TM) the teacher man who was holding me by my shoulders and tugging me around the pool like a tugboat.

We did this in the indoor pool, which was dimmer and had mint chocolate chip kind of color combination. Several times, while being tugged around the deep end, I noticed the big black lines (I didn’t know what they were for) bent slightly on their way to the diving board.

The lines themselves already kind of unnerved me; same with the giant crosses painted at the end of the pool lanes. My little mind thought them to be overbearing, and they had an unnerving, stark quality to them. The effect was made worse when wearing goggles, due to the optical distortion that happened.

So I kept an eye on them.

One day later that summer, our family arrived to the pool, only to discover it was closed for maintenance. I was bummed, but when I peered out to look at the pool, I was shocked.

The pool was completely drained! And the black lines didn’t bend gracefully, but dropped off the edge of a CLIFF into a Cavernous Expanse(TM)!

Often, I asked the hunky instructor how deep the water was; it looked like he was walking upright, and the black lines just seemed to bend gracefully a tad in that area. Giving my best guess at the time (since I hadn’t stuck my head underwater), I’d estimated it was about 6 feet deep, just like the outdoor pool.

So, long story short, that image of the drained pool was burnt into my brain, and I didn’t go near the deep end of ANY pool until I was 12. The dim, mint-green waters of the indoor pool turned very menacing and evil.

Eventually, through the use of goggles, and taking it slowly, inspecting every inch between the dropoff and the bottom, I got over most of the phobia.

 

Flash forward to today, and I’ve got 11 tabs open in my browser attempting to ascertain what diving classes are available, which pools have a high dive, and if a 10-meter platform is anywhere in the region.

The idea of doing flips and stunts looks amazing and fun! Since my wrists currently can’t take my full body weight or support me, it’s the perfect solution to get my acrobatics fun without having my hands fall off! (I took gymnastics as a kid, but that’s another story)

And now there are tabs about water polo, swim teams, all kinds of stuff!

I swam 600 yards today, and my goal (among many) is to go from 500 to 1500 per workout. So, yeah! That’s another exciting thing going on! Hope you enjoyed the story and laughed. :)

Just wait, and you’ll get to see me entering the water in…shall we say… unorthodox orientations. :P

2 thoughts on “Swimming, Diving, and Fear

  1. Saw your website link on your Connect With Anyone profile. I can relate to your story, only it took me a little longer to overcome my fear of water. When I was about ten I was in the shallow end a local outdoor pool (because I couldn’t swim) and somehow lost my footing and went under. I got all disoriented in my panic, gulping water as I went. Finally got back on my feet and got the hell out of there.

    I had such a phobia of water I would get tightness in my chest just standing under a running showerhead.

    Finally, at age 28, I decided to face my fear. I took lessons starting with adult beginners all the way through to Royal Lifesaving Society (Canada) Bronze medallion. That involved a 20 yard approach and 20 yard rescue tow of a panicking victim, 6 x 25 yards heads up swimming, plus 600 yards front crawl in 15 minutes.

    After that I did some springboard diving lessons for a while and then ‘retired’ from it all after I had accomplished what I set out to do. I admire you for your continued pursuit.

    There’s an incredible sense of accomplishment that comes with breaking through a fear of water and making it your friend. Probably a good metaphor for the many fears I face in life. I need to anchor that story for when I’m procrastinating to avoid the current fear I’m facing.

    Thanks for sharing your story. This looks like it’s going to develop into an interesting blog to follow.

    1. Thank you Larry!

      You’re right about that sense of accomplishment! There’s nothing like it!

      I still get unnerved and afraid, but it’s a little bit more in the background, and if anything, it keeps me very focused, attentive, and present.

      Towing a panicking victim seems crazy! I’d be afraid of panicking because they’re panicking. :D

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