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by Mari Soliman

February 26, 2017

Adult Learn-to-Swim Success Stories: The Student, Part 1

Exploring and learning are two verbs that describe what I try to do daily. It’s in my nature to be curious and to discover what is unknown to me. This has led me to swimming lessons—because I want to do it all, but swimming eludes me. There’s such a beautiful world out in the water, but I can’t just jump in. That frustrates and saddens me. Not swimming keeps me from living my life the way I want.

I find myself always near the water, admiring and in awe. I still try to enjoy it, but I’m ever-so guarded. I kayak at a beautiful national park where I see manatees, but I fear that I’ll fall in. Despite wearing a life vest, I worry about what could happen. I’ve whitewater rafted in South Carolina and in Costa Rica, and as much as I wanted to be in the moment, I knew that a misstep would be catastrophic for me.

I took my daughter once to a surfing class, and since I had taken her to swimming lessons at age 2, she was quick to pick up a wave on the board. There I was at the shore, proud of my daughter, but teary-eyed because I couldn’t join her.

I hope to change that. This week, I started my first swim lesson with my USMS instructor Megan Lassen. She guided me on breathing out through my nose in the water, how to flip myself around in the water, how to kick off the wall, and how to lie on my back in the water. These steps may seem basic to some, but, wow! I felt so empowered. I feel a step closer to realizing my dreams.

Megan answered my many questions with patience. When she saw my personal exasperation at not getting the movements on the first try, she reminded me that I needed to relax and believe that I would conquer it. Megan’s words and her training have me feeling that I will one day be able to play with my daughter in the ocean, and that vision has me smiling ear-to-ear.

Related Content

Surprise and Success in the Big Pool
Life-Changing and Life-Saving Skills
Mari Soliman's Adult Learn-to-Swim Story
First-Lesson Nerves and Trust
Big Pool, Bigger Accomplishment


  • Human Interest
  • Adult Learn-to-Swim


  • SSLF
  • ALTS