Swim Training - oh no
Years ago I used to be a good swimmer. For a while I was part of a team who trained and improved and entered competitions. In my childhood memory this seems like it was years of intense training, but it probably wasn't, and that feeling of desperately not wanting to swim another stroke and crying while I was completing the 40th lap (and that was just the warm up) is more pronounced in my memory than any enjoyment of winning a race.
I never warmed to competitive swimming but I did go on to be a swimming teacher and teach children and adults to swim. It is a marvellous moment to see a person going from non swimmer to swimmer and then just get better and better as their confidence kicks in. I maintain that everyone can swim, I did not actually teach them, they could always do it really.
I spent years being either in the water or on the edge of a pool in charge of other people's children. I don't want to sound over dramatic here but - this is a life and death situation. It would be a little awkward to explain to a parent that you started off with a class of 20 and only returned 19 and it was their particular child who...
Follow the Rules
Strict rules had to be set. No running, no back flips, no spins, no diving in the shallow end, no bombing, no no no no. All for the ultimate safety of my students and peace of mind of all concerned. It has been a constant embarrassment for my own children over the years because when being around a swimming pool in the capacity of holiday maker for leisure and not actually on duty as TEACHER, I would find it extremely difficult to not shout WALK or call someone over to 'have a word' about just how dangerous bombing can be if you hit the base of your spine on the pool floor, or go into detail about how severe a neck injury can be...
The other thing I find hard to leave behind, now that I am not a swimming teacher, is technique. Of course I don't say anything, but I do look on at struggling swimmers and want to give them the odd tip about how not to look like they are drowning or how to leave the pool feeling they've had a work out but have not swam very far.
It's all about the breathing. Statistically* 1 in 10 people are unable to swim with a flat body position, do side breathing whilst simultaneously doing a straight leg kick and move the arms smoothly, breaking the water with the fingers - and repeating this action for a whole length.
Instead there are many versions of front crawl to be seen in every swimming pool. The worst one being attempting this stroke with the head up at all times whilst thrashing at the water with bent elbows and flailing the head meaninglessly from side to side. Alternatively its the one where they start with the head down, it looks good for two arm pulls, then the head is lifted forward, an attempt at breathing takes place, the head is moved from side to side, optional snorting noises at this point, before it is placed back down again
It is a fact* that 97.7%* of women are taught to swim this stroke correctly but some how cannot stop themselves from doing it wrong. They persist in going to default granny-stroke-mode. The advantage of this is the hair stays dry and breathing can be successfully maintained at a normal resting rate. They can stroll around a pool using the granny-stroke technique in the same way they can window shop. It is pointless and there is no result. The disadvantage is that you look silly and old. This is a true and tested statistic*. 9 out of 10 teenagers who were asked to rate the swimming technique of their mothers rated it as 'silly' and did not hold back in calling it granny-stroke and, therefore, ladies, it makes you look old.
So instead of looking like a champion
You look like this.
Apart from in the correct and proper context ie an Olympic race, it should never be attempted in a public swimming pool unless you want to seriously piss everyone else off.
See backstroke advice.
*(I made up the statistics)