I never learned to swim properly. I can gracelessly get myself across a swimming pool, I can back stroke and tread water, but it isn’t pretty. I swallow water. I imagine what it must feel like to dive into a pool without my body slapping the surface of the water—hard, to swim freestyle with technique, a lap, a flip turn, and repeat. It is a skill I covet, and it’s somewhere on my bucket list.
The young people I birthed swam competitively though our YMCA, and high school. They had no choice but to swim because it was the last sport they tried, and I said no more quitting. My oldest, the college student, is now a lifeguard and swim instructor, teaching private lessons and group lessons. My middle child just completed her senior season on the high school swim team. Two out of three is not bad I suppose. My baby, the fifteen year old, who has a long lean swimmers body with feet the size and shape of fins, gills on his neck, and scaly skin—the one with the greatest potential—hates it. He quit swimming four years ago and still professes that I “ruined his childhood” by forcing him to swim all those years.
I will admit that I had some selfish motivation for keeping them all swimming. It was my little break. I took all three to the Y for swim team practice, and then I was free to head upstairs to workout. It’s always about me. I wasn’t trying to raise Olympians, I was trying to give them a sport to keep them out of trouble, and get them off the sofa. They made friends, and they had a lot of fun when they thought I wasn’t looking.
Swimming is, according a Harvard study, the best all over workout for several reasons: You can swim your entire life without inflicting the wear and tear on your body that is prevalent with other sports, because it’s easy on the joints and muscles. There is no pounding hard surfaces like there is with running.You don’t see many seventy year old gymnasts, but many seventy year olds swim. Swimming works the heart and lungs, and trains the body to use oxygen more efficiently, which is generally reflected in declines in the resting heart rate and breathing rate. It uses all the muscle groups, which improves muscle strength and flexibility.Swimming is often recommended for people with arthritis and other chronic conditions. Swimming is an activity you don’t need to give up late in life. My son could hate swimming until his dying day…if he took it up again.
Everyone tells me it’s never too late to learn how to swim…and how ridiculous am I that I haven’t knocked it off my bucket list when I gave birth to an excellent swim instructor, and she lives in my house…she does owes me something.
**Artwork credit: my Zoe
The Daily Post, January 23, 2016, Daily Prompt: Kick It~ What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/kick-it/”>Kick It</a>