I learnt swimming!!

March 2010

Whenever I saw people enjoying in water, a feeling of disappointment engulfs me. The feeling would turn into fear when I cross huge water bodies on boats. I always repented for not learning the art of swim.

I never recognized the importance of swimming during my childhood or even during college days. I seriously began to think about swimming two years ago. There was a problem. There are lots of swimming pools in Bengaluru who teach kids but not adults. There were few swimming pools owned by clubs near my Home, but again I had to learn myself.

A good swimming pool near my Home was at SAI (Sports Authority of India). Being a Government organization, they had some stringent requirements (like getting a Doctor certificate, registering only on weekdays). And again, I had to learn without the guidance of a coach. I had no time or patience to fulfill all those formalities.

Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre was a good option. But my friends were not very keen as it was “far”. I did not want to go alone!!

Other priorities took over my life and more than a year had passed by. During last winter, I again started giving serious thoughts about swimming. Just waited for summer to start and I registered for swimming classes in Basavanagudi Aquatic Center. The training was for the month of March and the timing was 9-10PM. Though it was odd hour, it suited me as I could attend after my Office hours.

Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre is one of the best swimming pools in India. It is a 50m long pool with depth varying from 3ft to 16ft. Many National level swimmers have come from this place.

The first day at swimming class started with the lesson of buoyancy and holding breathe under water. I was really excited to feel that the body would just float if I lie flat and hold my breathing.

In couple of days, we were able to float and move forward by kicking our legs. The next step involved using hands and breathing while swimming. It would not go into details, but it needed lot of synchronization.

The real fun started when we were asked to jump into 16ft level of water and swim towards the shore. Until now, we were confined to 3ft deep water. Few people who had some swimming skills jumped into the water while some refused to jump. I belonged to neither of the group. I never hesitated to jump but always with tension in my face and beat the water left and right and struggle to reach the safety.

Fear of water, lack of physical exercise and stamina all made me struggle to swim.

One of the days was bad where I gave myself while swimming and the coach had to push me to shore. I was very low on morale and contemplated to skip the classes. That was an easy way to escape. The fact that I had to jump into 16ft water made me nervous every evening!!

The problem must be solved. The coaches were always helpful and gave tips to overcome the fear.

It was not just the strength and stamina that was required for swimming. Keeping cool and using the right techniques make one swim faster. A bad technique will make one stay stagnant or move very slowly even if he puts all his energy into action.

Things changed when I started looking into those aspects. A breakthrough was achieved when I was able to dive into the water and complete a lap. Great achievement for a guy who is scared to look at the water!! Things only improved later.

The classes are over now and I can safely claim that I have learnt how to swim to safety when thrown into water!!