Childhood Memories Friday: Swimming Lessons

Childhood Memories FridayOn this snowy Friday in the midst of an apparently never-ending winter, I thought we could all use a Childhood Memories Friday post about something warm: swimming lessons.

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.

swimming lessons 1973Here 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.

IMG_3532Here’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?

3 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Swimming Lessons

  1. Jill’s striking quite the pose, isn’t she?
    As to me and water – we’ve never been friends. I grew up on a farm.
    We had a pond but I never got in it. In my youth, polio ran rampant and you tried avoiding city pools for fear of contracting polio. I don’t remember swim lessons ever been mentioned to me.
    I do think it is very important for a person to know how to swim, however, at 72 I cannot! Students at school are amazed when I say I can’t swim! I know swimming is an excellent exercise.

  2. I’m right with you, Susan. I, too, was a failure at learning to swim although I had lessons several times. I’ve also been pulled out of Lake Erie and at least one pool just before dying. I’m sure at my age I’ll never learn but I agree it’s important.

  3. Oh boy swimming lessons as a child – I recall! My mom took us when I was about 3 and I learned to swim. Then she didn’t take us and I forgot. So when I was about 8, in a new town, she enrolled us at the local POND. Freezing cold water in the morning! I had to take Beginner’s Swimming THREE times, only because I would NOT put my mouth on the resuscitation dummy that ALL the other kids had just put their mouths on!! I kept failing “rescue skills!” LOL. So by the end, I was the oldest person in my class all the time because it took me three summers to pass! hahaha

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