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Learning to Swim

Posted on:November 6, 2023 at 03:30 AM

After living in planet earth which is 70% water for over 20 years, I finally decided to learn swimming. This blog describes my journey learning to swim.

Day 1 - 2

First two days were filled with exciting discoveries. I was amazed to find out that the human body naturally floats in water when lungs are inflated. 🤯 The initial activities, such as exhaling underwater and floating after inhaling lungful of air were fairly straightforward and came naturally to me. By the end of the second day, I felt comfortable getting into the water,exhaling through the nose and efforlessly floating in the pool.

A person floating in the pool

Day 3 - 5

I started to learn how to kick and create forward motion. Intially, I struggled with kicking efficiently to move forward in water, but over time, I improved my efficiency. I could now move in the water while holding my breath (or exhaling underwater) and floating. However, kicking was physically demanding, and I found it challenging to maintain it for more than 15 seconds. The trainer also pointed out that my leg movements needed improvement.

During this period, I also began learning how to lift my head to inhale air while using a kickboard. I would kick off the pool wall, propelling my legs, and exhale underwater. When I needed to breathe, I attempted to raise my face above the water to get some air. This was initially difficult because as soon as I lifted my head, my legs would sink, and I would stop moving. This was mainly because I would stop kicking when raising my head. After another day of practice, I became used to kicking and breathing simultaneously.

A person kicking their legs in the pool

At the end of the first week, I was comfortable getting into the water, breathing out underwater, floating and even getting some air with my neck out of the water while kicking. Kicking had become easier, and my movements were better than before. It was exciting.

Day 6-7

Beginning the second week was not easy as I felt pain in my legs and core after a week of practice. The pain lasted for the next 2 days.

Now it was time to use my arms as well which till now, I would just keep straight and pointed forward while kicking or floating. I began practicing with a kickboard to perform the “arm pull” while kicking.I was advised to just look down and perform the movement and not worry about breathing at this stage. I would fill my lungs, try the arm pull, and then resurface as I ran out of air. My movements were somewhat erratic, and the kickboard tended to sink as I tried the alternating arm pull.

I tried the arm pull while kicking without using the kickboard and I was able to move forward. Although my movement was all over the place, it was still moving in water which I was very happy with. But, I had to get better at arm pull.

A person swimming in water

Day 8-16

After practicing the arm-pull underwater without breathing, it was time to learn how to breathe while moving forward. This seemed deceptively easy in hindsight, but like many things in life, it proved challenging.

I began using the kickboard and performed the alternating arm pull while holding it with one hand and executing the arm pull with the other for practice. After two practice sessions I transitioned to moving forward without the kickboard, which proved to be a challenge. At times, I would cease kicking my legs when my neck was out of the water, and in other instances, I struggled to raise my head above the water. It was a difficult task to cooridnate movement across the body. I had dedicate around a weeks time to practicing this movement.

A person swimming and raising their head above water to breathe

Day 17-20

By this point, I had become quite comfortable with the arm pull, successfully swimming halfway across the pool. However, throughout this period, I focused on breathing on my right side while attempting the alternate arm pull. The sequence was as follows:

  1. Float in water
  2. Start kicking legs and initiate the arm pull with my left hand, while my right hand pointed ahead.
  3. Once the left hand was straight, perform the pull with the right hand.
  4. Breathe after 4 strokes of hand movement initially, then breath every on alternate stroke on the right side, while the right hand executed another pull.

I managed to execute this sequence comfortably for short distances. However, I would get tired after moving halfway across the pool because my breathing was not coordinated, and I struggled to to get enough air.

A significant change then occured when I attempted to breath on my left. It felt so natural, and on my second attempt, I successfully traversed the entire length of the pool. Despite being right handed, breathing on the left proved much easier and much more comfortable. Covering the entire length in one go marked a significant milestone in my swimming journey.

At this juncture, I was also comfortable in floating on my back and moving across the pool. Even without initiating hand movements, I felt at ease floating on my back while kicking my legs.

I was elated and satisfied with the considerable progress I made in the last 20 days.

Day 21-25

After practicing for the next couple of days, I successfully covered the entire length of the 25m pool. In the following days, I was able to complete multiple laps comfortably. I finally learned to swim freestyle 😊. Now, onward with learning other strokes.

💡 All images in this post were generated with AI.