Learning to Sink or swim at 50, the search for swimming lessons, Part 2
I haven’t had a swimming lesson since I was in middle school, and social media is full of women of my age enjoying open water or wild swimming as part of their wellbeing regime. Having taken the plunge myself, it was soon apparent that I was well and truly out of my depth. If you haven’t caught up with Part One of this blog, you can catch-up if you click here.
Over the summer the children have enjoyed the few sun-filled days that we had with trips to the local lido, practising their swimming and diving for hoops that I happily dangle on my foot or launch across the pool.
Week by week, their swimming is improving. Practice. Repetition. More practice. More repetition. It’s not long before the children question me about my swimming abilities. Mummy can you do breast stroke? Kind of, I answer. What about back stroke? Sort of is my reply. How about front crawl? I’ve never been taught it and I’ve never tried it. In a touching moment that tugged at my heart strings, my sons said that they would teach me front crawl. It was at that point that I knew that I needed to sign-up for some lessons.
What did I learn all those years ago?
The honest answer is not much. You have to remember that in those days it wasn’t usual practice to pole up to classes with swimming goggles and I really struggled with the strongly chlorinated water stinging my eyes.
I remember swimming up and down with arms stretched out and kicking furiously. It wasn’t until I was older that I tried my interpretation of breast stroke. Really big arm strokes and jumping frog legs with not much forward propulsion.
Getting my face in the water was never an option as that would surely get my hair wet!
Lessons, time to get some!
My children have been taking swimming lessons at our local Everyone Active Leisure Centre, but looking at the rosta of lessons it was clear that adult lessons weren’t available.
I start to use the power of Google to get my search started and I was met with lots of options. Delving deeper into the top results, they all seemed to speak my language. Aimed at people who lacked confidence in the water, had a fear of water or even suffered a trauma in water.
As a coincidence, the company that caught my eye was the same company who we’d signed up with for baby swimming lessons, so I thought I’d be in great hands. Excitedly I fired off an enquiry into their services where I was honest about my experiences.
The following day I had the choice of 3 dates for a trial session and details of the costs involved. The trial was going to cost £30, and a 5 week course of group lessons would be £105.
With the trial booked, I paid my fees after a slight hiccup with the account name. With the address I did what most of us to these days and and Googled the location of the pool to get an idea of the location. Nothing came up. I emailed for clarification of the address and I was advised that I was given the wrong post code and a new one provided. This time Google returned a general area with no specific property being pinpointed, but I had an address so I made sure that I set off early.
The trial session took place in the summer holidays and I arranged my childcare around my lesson. As Google maps got me closer to the area I kept my eyes peeled for the address. This village was tiny. Drive too far and you were driving out of the village, but I couldn’t find the road, I couldn’t locate the house name. I pulled over and made a call to the lady I emailed.
No answer and my trial was starting in 10 minutes and I hate being late! I rang again and someone answered. It was the lady who I’d made the booking with. She was really vague with the location. Telling me to drive down a road, get to a white property with building work outside, drive to the right…….I was listening intently when I heard the woman tell me that there was a problem with the pool and that the lesson would have to be re-scheduled, but drive to the gate, ring the bell and speak to the representative to sort things out.
I. Was. Raging!!!!!
Long story long, things didn’t end well and this is the email I fired off when I got home after that farce. I have removed their details and names.
Back to the drawing board
At this stage I’m ready to give up on the idea of swimming lessons and I almost did give up but just by chance I was taking my boys for their weekly lessons when a member of staff overhead my conversation with one of my sons and suggested I speak to the swim manager.
I explained what I wanted and she indicated that they were going to be launching lessons for adults and to write in so that they had my details.
A month later I get a call. A date is set and the fees are less than £40 per month with each lesson lasting an hour in a group setting.
I’m ready to give this my best!
To be continued…………
CLICK HERE to read Part 1 of this Blog series