Surprise and Success in the Big Pool
Adult Learn-to-Swim Success Stories: The Student, Part 2
In this second installment of Mari Soliman's Adult Learn-to-Swim Story, USMS catches up with Mari to talk about how her swimming lessons with her USMS-certified adult learn-to-swim instructor, Megan Lassen, are progressing.
USMS: This week, you moved from a backyard pool to a competition-sized pool. Were there any hiccups in the transition?
MS: I enjoyed the competition pool because of its length. I want to be comfortable in open water, and the pool where I started lessons was smaller. The bigger pool challenged me, because when I needed to swim the length of the pool, I found that I was out of breath! I was surprised. I work out, I go the gym—not every day—but I do weights. I don’t do much cardio. I always thought that I didn’t need to. But when I transitioned to the big pool, I found out I’m not in as good of shape as I thought I was. Adding the swimming is a type of exercise I’m not familiar with.
USMS: What has come easy for you?
MS: I’m really hard on myself, so I don’t think a lot of it was easy. I was able to figure out little concepts and techniques like the breathing and slowing down. I have a tendency to rush through it, but the technique wasn’t correct. I assumed that swimming was just splashing around, but that only exhausted me more.
USMS: What have you enjoyed the most?
MS: I really enjoyed just getting closer to my dream. Every time I was in the water, I wasn’t excellent, but I was getting some understanding of a foreign environment to me. I think I’m enjoying it more than I expected because I’m feeling more freedom. … Megan has been helpful by telling me that everyone has these fears in the beginning: We’re land creatures, but over time you’re going to ease into it and it becomes second nature.
USMS: How would you describe Megan’s teaching style?
MS: I would say she’s knowledgeable and exactly what I needed because I needed someone who can push me and not let me do just the minimum. She figured me out and challenged me to do more. She said, “You can do this, but let’s do this plus that.”
USMS: What have you struggled with?
MS: I’m struggling with three things so far:
- Stamina. I run out of breath very quickly. I need to do more cardio.
- The leg motion. I need to figure out the kicking. But that’s tied into the stamina. I kick, kick, kick, and my legs are like, “I’m exhausted!”; and,
- Safety swimming. I really want to figure out how to tread water.
USMS: Have there been any surprises?
MS: Plenty. I just never put much thought into the process of swimming before, but it now makes sense. I know it sounds silly, but just the slowing down, the breathing, keeping my head down to keeping the rest of my body up. Just the technical things I didn’t know have been a surprise.
USMS: Describe your comfort level at this point, 6 lessons into an 8-lesson plan.
MS: I think I started at like a 3. I think I’m now at a 7 or 8. I still have those three things that bug me, but I’m better.
USMS: What do you expect from your last two lessons?
MS: We’re going to be doing some breaststroke tomorrow. I’m nervous because, like I told you, I don’t know what to do with my legs, but I’m going to give it my best.
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