Learning how to swim and more

Its been my desire to learn swimming since a very long time. At the start of the year I had decided that I would spend some time getting better at some of the life skills which include cooking, driving a 4 wheeler and swimming. I did make some decent progress in the first two while the last one remained unattended. It always felt embarrassing walking in a pool just splashing water around and doing nothing else. I did try learning it and ended up with a decent floating ability (yay!!)

Come October, I joined a swimming class very close to my home. It was a one of the highlights of this year for me. It taught me so many things other than swimming and I was vigilant enough to spend time observing them. Thinking about it now, memories of my school came up. The reason being that for every class all of us used to wear the same dress everyday, a uniform I would say :D

I have a fear of street dogs as I've had a bad experience with them last year (yeah, the scar still resides on my left forearm. Nothing to blame the dogs though, it was just the foolish me). Every morning on my way to the class, I used to encounter at least 3-4 groups of dogs. The fear would conquer all my senses but somehow I would walk past them ignoring their occasional barks. The more I tried not to fear them day by day, the more I was scared of it. At this point I realised that there are some fears that we would just live with. Its about accepting them and making them a part of ourselves.

On the first day, the instructor had asked all of us to show him whatever we knew about swimming. I jumped in and showed him hand-only breast stroke (yeah that's the one w/o breathing). Voila! I was promoted to level 2 (and there goes a chance to interact with some lovely girls in level 1 :( ). After around 6-7 classes, I had a chat with girl from level 1 enquiring on how their training was going. She said it was going good, just that she wasn't comfortable with breathing. But I had noticed that everyone used to do it quite elegantly. To which she replied "we actually don't breathe when we do it. Its just to show the instructor. That's it!". I was astonished. This is just like school going children.

It also provoked a thought, do we build up our ego to the level where we don't accept that we can't do a thing, resulting to the outcome that we don't learn it. The instructors would have been good at what they do, but even they couldn't attend to each person and see if they are breathing properly. This was evident during the last few classes, when everyone had to do freestyle with breathing and apparently no one could cross half the pool. Lesson learnt. Never build up your ego thinking that "Oh! I could do that easily (psst! I don't actually know how)".

Coming to the final learning, this one was even more revealing. The same girl from the previous conversation was feeling very low that she isn't able to stay afloat while kicking. But this wasn't her reason for feeling low. It was because the others around her were able to do it quite easily while she wasn't. We always have a competitive mind set. I agree that its good to have it, but sometimes its better to think about ourselves and gaining the skill without worrying about how others are doing. After a certain point, we could set a goal to compete with them on the time taken to cover a certain distance and use this as an improvement mechanism.

All in all these are some interesting facts that I learned along the way and yeah I did improve my freestyle \m/

Keval D Doshi

I am a curiosity bitten engineer who loves to solve problems by creating awesome Products. I love sports and travel. You can find my experiments with music here: https://soundcloud.com/user-981201504

Bengaluru, India http://www.kevaldoshi.com

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