History

1965: I was born (presumably up until that time I was reasonably confident about being in fluid).

1965-1975: Occasional visits to the local lido (Bridgwater in Somerset) and some lessons at the lido and with school left me unable to swim and lacking any real confidence in water. I can remember the feeling of hopelessness and being towed around a pool on a kind of lead (around my waist) failing miserably to keep above the surface. I believe that I managed to swim a width of the pool (no more than 10 metres)

1975-1985: I hardly ever visited a swimming pool. At around the age of 20 I had a week of intensive lessons with a teacher at a pool in Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset). I recall that she was surprised by my lack of progress (and buoyancy) and ended up agreeing that I must have heavy bones… Surprisingly, whilst at university I regularly participated in on-water activity (coxing racing eights) which led to an alarming incident when I was thrown into the River Thames by members of my crew and despite being only a few metres from the bank had to be gently rescued.

1985-1995: What career would be good for someone who can’t swim and doesn’t like to be in water? That’s right – oceanography… Looking back I am sure that my lack of water confidence steered me away from the more practical aspects of the subject into nice safe work in an office with computers. If I swam in this decade I can’t remember doing so but I did have dreams in which I could swim really well which was curious.

1995-2005: I rarely ventured into a swimming pool but somehow managed not to convey my dislike of swimming and water to my children, both of whom are excellent swimmers. If you are 30-40 years old and cannot swim then swimming pools are intimidating and unforgiving places, especially if you are short-sighted and can’t see too well without glasses.

2005-2008: I joined a local gym (the Devonshire Health and Racquets Club in Plymouth) in September 2006 and simply by spending time in the pool I slowly gained a basic level of water confidence. I bought some swimming goggles with prescription lenses (what a difference that made). I had a few swimming lessons in mid-2007 which helped a bit but didn’t exactly overcome my lack of buoyancy and reached a point where I could swim a length or two using an exhausting form of thrashing front-crawl. I then had six more lessons with a different teacher (autumn 2007 – thanks to Robyn from SwimCats) and began to swim very, very slow breast-stroke (and I do mean slow – even old ladies who don’t want to disturb their hair while swimming overtake me). I practised swimming and found that I began to enjoy it (and, oddly, that it felt very similar to my earlier dreams). Around April 2008 I discovered that I could swim mutliple (~20) lengths and amazed myself. I continued to swim sporadically (summer 2008) and then saw a poster advertising the Aspire Channel Swim. After lots of deliberation I decided to challenge myself…

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Simon Butters  |  January 4, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Well done Tim, Legend!

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