Swimming lessons and I were never good friends, although we seemed to spend an awful lot of time together. Mom signed my sister and me up for classes summer after summer, and I can still recall the sick-to-my-stomach feeling I’d have each morning as I’d put on my swimming suit. Most kids loved swimming. I did not.
Here I am at 8, along with my sister and our swimming teacher that summer. I remember hating my swimsuit — as you can see, my physique wasn’t the greatest for swimwear to begin with, and a two piece? Horrors! I couldn’t pull it off, even when my age was in the single digits. Some things never change …
At school, I was the first chosen for any spelling bee or academic contest. At swimming class, though, I was a failure. I clearly remember once the teacher telling us she’d toss a penny into the pool, and we would need to dive to the bottom to find it. I was horrified by this, and just couldn’t imagine any way on earth I could actually do that. I remember trying desperately to find a penny with my foot, the better to locate it with.
Here’s the skills checklist from one summer’s lessons. Some years, this apparently being one, I didn’t pass. Other years, the instructor mercifully passed me along, like the teacher passing along the kid who can’t do math and can’t spell, just because she’s tired of trying with him. I notice the frequent notes encouraging “endurance” — as well as my total inability to swim underwater.
How about you? Did you take swimming lessons as a child? Did you enjoy them?