The Joy of Swimming
As a child, we would always spend the second week of August on our annual family holiday. Back in the seventies, holiday camps were all the rage and the prospect of the hi-de-hi atmosphere would have me counting down the minutes until our week away. One of the things that made my parents particularly excited was the prospect of unlimited use of the swimming pool.
My dad was in his day an amazing swimmer. I think he modeled his technique on the legendary Olympian and Tarzan movie actor Johnny Weissmuller! Dad would dive in at the deep end and swim silently under the water without making a ripple, before bursting to the surface of the shallow end where I would be stood waiting. I remember the anticipation and the excitement, wondering when my dad would emerge. Watching the bubbles as he squeezed the last of his breath from his lungs. Trying to spot the silhouette of my dad as he made his way like a merman across the bottom of the pool dodging around the other swimmers. I remember the pride that it was my dad who could swim an effortless length on one single breath. He was my hero!
|Swimming at the Seaside|
After he broke the surface of the waves he would fling me on his back and give me a ride through the swimming pool. I would pretend I was riding on the back of a dolphin as he swam with me clinging around his neck. I felt safe with my dad. Although I was never a strong swimmer myself and was nervous of being out of my depth in the water, I still remember my dad pushing me through the water like a torpedo as I reached for the side of the pool, stretching my fingers and holding my breath. I loved the feeling of speed as I whizzed across the surface, leaving a wave in my wake.
|Ready for the Pool.|
My mum is one of those women who can breaststroke tirelessly for hours and never even get her hair wet! She would elegantly and effortlessly clock up length after length, with her immaculately made-up face and styled hair daring the other swimmers to splash her. As she bobbed through the water, rising and dipping, she personified both power and grace. My dad would never dare 'mess' with her swimming chi. I can only imagine the wrath he would have met had he decided to swim underneath her and hoist her out of the water on his strong shoulders before tossing her into the water!
My childhood memories of swimming are vivid. I hope that my own children will be able to look back and remember the games that we play in the pool with them. I am still not a strong swimmer as I totally lack the co-ordination to get to grips with an effective technique, but I do enjoy taking the children to the beach or to water parks. Alton Towers and Centre Parcs have provided us with hours of watery family fun. Our Summer holiday this year is at a French resort with a Tropical Water Park. I have promised the children that we can go swimming everyday. Kizzy is keen to practice her newly acquired swimming techniques. I taught her to swim on holiday at Christmas and she's been doing well in her school swimming lessons ever since. Freddy loves donning a little buoyancy jacket and is fearless when it comes to splashing around, going down slides and chutes and gaining the confidence needed for learning to swim. Unlike my own parents, I may not be able to execute a perfect dive before negotiating 25m on one lungful of air, nor can I swim an effortless ten lengths without wetting my hair, but I can definitely help nurture a love of water in my own little ones through fun and play that will hopefully lead to a lifelong joy of swimming.
|My Little Mermaids in 2005|