Why do I swim?
I swim to forget,
I swim to energise,
I swim to focus,
I swim for determination,
I swim to smile,
I swim to tire,
I swim to sleep,
I swim because I can.
I didn’t always swim. Before the age of 10 I wouldn’t set foot in a pool. My mum used to take me as a kid, but she stopped because I’d scream the place down. Every time. As soon as my feet touched the water. I screamed like she was trying to kill me.
Then, at the age of 10, my best mate went to swimming lessons, and I decided I’d go with her. One of my off the wall ideas (which I still get now) and I’m sure my mam thought I was crazy considering how much I could scream the pool down. I remember standing on the side of the pool, my toes gripping the side. The water was 6ft deep, taller than me. I stood there and the next thing I knew, I was in the water and too far away from the side to reach out to the wall. The instructor had crept up behind me and pushed me. He pushed me hard enough that I went far enough away from the wall so that the only option I had was to swim back (H&S issue nowadays! or child cruelty even!).
Anyway… since that moment, I became a swimmer. I didn’t stop. I loved it. I swam and swam, and joined the local swimming club, and swam some more. At the swimming club there was different groups, 3ft group, 4ft, 6ft, 10ft and lengths. You had to work your way up through the ranks.. I started the first night at 3ft, and within half an hour was in the lengths group!! Then I started early morning training, and swimming in the evening after school.
I was always the last one picked for sports. When choosing teams, I’d be the one left out at the end, and I’d be the last person to complete any kind of running activity. (That’s a different story though – I ended up running a marathon once :)) But, in the swimming pool, I was the one always chosen by the teacher to show the others how the technical aspects of the stroke should be. Somehow I just could do it. So i kept swimming. I went to college and continued swimming and after that too. I moved to a small place in Scotland, but there was a pool in the next town, so I used to go there. Me and my mate used to swim before work, the pool was always freezing in the morning. I’d swim up and down the pool, for a mile each time.
I moved to England and the swimming got left behind. But now I’ve found my love and passion for it again.
I love it. The whole feeling of slipping into the cold pool, the water buoyant around you, the lapping of the water over your arms, that initial coldness which disappears as soon as you push off from the side. While I’m swimming is probably the only time that I never have anything going on in my head. I focus on one point on the wall at the opposite end of the pool, and I swim towards it. I never take my focus off that point. I totally focus. In my head is nothing but that focus point. And then I reach it, and turn around, push off the wall and find that focus point at the other end of the pool, and I keep going. Focus and determination. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. I love the feel of the water, it soothes me as I rush through it, the waves wash the stress away from me, and I keep swimming.
But then it isn’t just the swim itself. It’s the buzz you get afterwards. I climb out of the pool, and sometimes I feel I can’t walk! but you get this buzz of completeness, of wellbeing, of happiness, a massive grin, and a tired body! But it gives you masses of energy.. I always get my supper cooked, ironing done, hoovering done plus about a million other things, and then I sleep all through the night, which doesn’t often happen with me.
And then I just keep swimming, just keep swimming…….
And I had to have an excuse to post a Michael Phelps picture!!!!!!! 😀
(Although I do hope he gets rid of his beard before I see him on Tuesday!)