Swimming is not my thing, and by "not my thing" I mean REALLY not my thing. Neither of my parents know/knew how to swim so as a child I endured round after round of swim lessons because they felt it was of the utmost importance that I at least knew the basics in case I ever really needed it. I somehow managed to pass most of the swim classes, even if I am still traumatized by the thought of diving, and even managed to pass the required swim portion of 9th grade Gym. I was always the kid who seemed to "forget" my swim suit at friend's pool parties and was happy spending my day under an umbrella reading when we went to the beach. Friends who see me coming out of the pool, even now, immediately ask "Why are you swimming? Are you injured?"
When my husband suggested that I should do the Xterra sprint-length triathlon two years ago, I thought he was kidding and I may even have laughed out loud at him. "Come on, it's only 250 yards. Anyone can swim 250 yards." he said. Um yeah, whatever. 250 yards is 2 1/2 football fields! Did he have any idea how far that really was? Meanwhile he was preparing for his 1 mile swim, the whole time making it look as easy as sitting on the couch watching TV.
I did eventually take on the challenge and managed to swim that 250 yards, in open (cold) water. I spent most of the swim on my back with my dear friend Amy grabbing my arm to pull me in the right direction every time I headed off course, but I completed the swim and wasn't even the last one out of the water.
It's been two years since he first made that suggestion and while I still don't like to swim, I've managed to subdue my fear of being in the water, and have even managed to find a comfort zone--at least when the water's shallow enough that I can touch. It is not pretty, it does not feel good, and most swims include at least a half dozen brief moments when I feel like I'm suffocating, but I've somehow managed to transform from the runner who could almost make it one length of the pool (20 yards) to just someone who can swim over a mile (with my face in the water) in less than an hour. I've got a long way to go from swimming laps in the YMCA pool to an open water swim of 1.2 miles, but considering what I've already overcome the rest (hopefully with some actual swimming lessons) should be a piece of cake.
And if not, there's always the rescue volunteers, right?!