A post I wrote on the 2nd of Jan this year….
2 Jan 2018
Today I had my swimming lesson. Something profound happened to me and I want to share.
After 3 weeks break from swimming lessons and the Christmas holidays wherein we had family stay with us, who were keen to jump in and help with chores, it meant I was not as active as usual. First off, stepping into the pool was hard as it felt very cold to my skin used to being under at least 3 layers. It took me 3 times as long to warm up from moving about in the water. Then when I set off for my front crawl (which I have been learning) I was quite cheeses off to realise that I had only made it half-length through and yet I was gulping like a fish out of water.
Needless to say, the whole lesson followed the same trend – much as I tried I just didn’t have the stamina to swim a full lap – 3/4 was the longest I managed. Towards the end of the lesson I was bobbing about in the water at the shallow end when my fellow classmate came up from her lap she had just finished (she is more advanced than me, she could already swim but is taking lessons to improve her stroke and stamina). We chatted about the lesson, making fun of the teachers’ insistence that our toes should be breaking water when all we are trying to do is make sure we just have enough breath. I got round to expressing my frustration at not being able to swim a lap in one go when 3 weeks ago I was doing laps for the whole lesson.
She then asked me to swim with her one last lap before we finish (there was about 5 minutes left by then) I wasn’t keen but she gently cajoled me and I relented and we set off. She has a very graceful way of swimming – and I tried to emulate her. As I was thinking about how nice it was to be swimming with someone else in sync (I could just see her on the peripheral of my vision) My hand touched the end of the pool. I had made it.
I had swum one lap in a go. It was embarrassing when I splashed water on her as I slapped the surface in a victory jig (I dance when I feel good – even in water). I couldn’t stop thanking her and she graciously insisted it was me.
But I am certain it wasn’t just me – I had spent 50 mins trying to do it but I couldn’t. Yet by having a pacemaker I did it the first time.
It made me think of sewing challenges and any challenge really – whether it is yoga, running or dieting – when in a group it is more likely to be reached. Its not competitive either – for me when I was swimming alongside her – I wasn’t thinking about being faster or better than her – though I can’t remember exactly what I was thinking a strong part was that I wasn’t focusing on what I wasn’t capable of but on that she could do it and she believed I could do it too.
I also had a nice feeling of not wanting to let her belief in me down. When I finished the lap – it became a self-evident truth to me that I can swim the lap. So I turned and swam another lap following behind her this time.
So my thinking is that when you join a group embarking on a similar goal to yours then its a case of the sum of the individual parts is great together and you get better. Anyway, this felt like an epiphany for me.