Swimming: Story of my experiments with water






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It is exactly an year since this journey began, things are getting better, thinking of it more as a recreation, not setting the target of doing so many laps, just being at home in water.

If you are interested check out the links that helped me on my way.

Continuing to swim through rainy season and winter with minor interruptions; getting the hang of it now. Developing the efficient crawl. Improving continuously, but avoiding straining too much, after all, there is work to do well into the night


I read that there are category of people called 'aquatic chimps', a breed notoriously difficult, if not impossible to teach swimming. I think I can be called an epitome of such a species if one exists. I had tried to learn swimming twice previously and gave up.

Municipal swimming pool.

At the ripe young age of 33, I gave it an another try. And this time it sort of fell in place. Reasons -

1. I was desperate to learn

2. So followed instructions to the boot

3. A friend (thanks Onkar!) helped me balance on my back, and that clicked. I became quite adept at floating on my back.

4. Then learnt to propel with hands and feet in a sort of inverted breaststroke.

5. This continued for almost 2 months, while my slow progress with front crawl was on.

6. In the mean time checked up numerous websites like www.totalimmersion.net, www.swimdownhill.com and news group rec.sports.swimming also proved quite useful.

7. In other words, theoretically I was quite well, trouble was the water. It just did not work the way I intended in the water.

8. But kept at it none the less.

9 And lo and behold, one fine day I sort of rotated in 360 degrees while one my stomach, pulling with my hands, kicking with my feet. And something sort of clicked. I tried it the other way and that too worked. Then I thought, let me push for the wall straight. And started pulling with one hand, as if going diagonally in that direction, then switched hands, going diagonally in opposite direction. In the mean time kept kicking clumsily to stay afloat. After what seemed an eternity, I reached the opposite wall quite out of breath but happy at last.

10. Then started developing this, (a mixture of dog paddle, crawl), became confident enough to step out of baby pool. After 10 such days crossed my first 50 m.

11. Presently I have started developing breast stroke, which initially I found more difficult; but now find more easy & less tiring.

12. I find that if I relax my body, without any tension in any muscle, it will automatically rise to surface, water will easily support it. Only thing to concentrate on is to slowly & continuously exhale underwater. Then gentle movements will propel us forwards. Want to breath? Turn your mouth to side without lifting the head in crawl ,or if in breast stroke, raise your upper body a bit and the fresh sweet air is right there. Keep going this way. I don't think this is complete guide to swimming, but this was my experience.

13. And importantly have a good time swimming.


The Fine Print: It would be prudent not to try these techniques unsupervised or where there are no lifeguards. And what worked for me may not work for everyone; important thing is not to loose heart and discover swimming on your own. I am not sure whether this will be appreciated by someone who has been swimming throughout his/her life, but I think novices will surely understand this.

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