Swimming Lesson #6

Thursday comes, and with it another swimming lesson. Today was my second attempt to master breaststroke, and also my first attempt to explain to my swimming coach why I’d had 14 different swimming teachers, without using the phrase "ice cold pool of dilute juvenile piss". (My 14 different swimming teachers is a terrible lie my wife is spreading; it was 14 years of swimming lessons with an indeterminate number of unsympathetic swimming teachers whose pedagogical technique was uniformly comprised of yelling and blowing a whistle.)

Breaststroke is the most relaxed stroke, allegedly, but since I’m less familiar with it than freestyle, I am much less efficient, which means it’s much more tiring. It’s also my mother’s favourite technique, because she doesn’t have to get her face wet, which is anathema to all true Cushties.

Unfortunately, the way Swish teach it, you do get your face wet, because your head is underwater, just as it is for freestyle. Every two strokes, you come up for air, which means another complicated process of coordinating inhaling at the same time as pulling your arms back and down to help your head up.

This is, of course, hard work. I avoided it once by doing breaststroke underwater from one end of the pool to the other, but that is knackering and unsustainable. A man has to breathe, right? So mostly it was me forgetting to breathe when my head was up, or forgetting that I can’t inhale underwater, or forgetting to keep kicking, or just forgetting.

Still, I’m taking a lot less of the pool home with me than when I started. My coach seems quite proud (and rightly so) at this progression.

Or perhaps they take the missing water out of his wages.

So now I go to the pool, swim two laps without using my arms, two laps of freestyle with a float, two laps without a float, two laps of breaststroke and then I’m warmed up. And then it’s about half way through the lesson. Maybe I need to work on my speed…

Anyway, utterly exhausted as usual. But my foot doesn’t hurt so much, so all is right with the world until tomorrow.

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