Fun Fact: I Can’t Swim

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Photo credit: dutruong.t733 on VisualHunt / CC BY

My dad threw me in a swimming pool when I was 7. He thought that I would immediately learn to swim in order to save myself. Well, I didn’t. I sank slowly to the bottom. My dad pulled me out of the pool.

I never was angry with him for doing this, probably because I was terrified of the water — chlorinated water got into my nose and mouth and eyes. (I had forgotten to close them!) The chlorine tasted gross, and I felt like I was disappointing my father. All of his friends were at the pool, too, and witnessed what happened. Before tossing me in, he seemed so sure that it would work. Well, I proved him wrong!

When I was 10 years old, my mom had the bright idea of signing me up for swimming lessons. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I thought it would be another opportunity for me to fail, and I was right. The first thing the instructor taught us was how to float. I couldn’t float then, and I can’t float now. You have no idea how many times I tried floating in the pool and my feet remained planted to the bottom. I couldn’t figure out how people could go from a standing position to lying on their backs practically above the water!

My parents gave up after that, and I decided that I don’t need to know how to swim even if it saved my life. But it could save my life, like if I fail out of a touristy boat or something else that I happen to be riding.

As an adult, I’ve looked into swimming lessons, most of which are for kids. There are a few adult swim classes out there. However, I just can’t stand the thought of anyone seeing me in a bathing suit. And I don’t like getting water in my ears, and anyway, I’d have to remove my hearing aids because they aren’t supposed to get wet, but then how would I hear the instructor?

So I have decided not to learn to swim. I mean, there are flotation devices on those boats, aren’t there?


How did you learn to swim? Or did you?

Author:

I hold an MFA in poetry from The Ohio State University. I'm a fiction writer, blogger, wife, pet mom, and Ohio State Buckeye!

14 thoughts on “Fun Fact: I Can’t Swim

  1. I am not a good swimmer. 2 widths I have done the most without floats. That was in my teens and I have no confidence to try since.
    Since then, I am deaf and wear hearing aids, as you know. So same as you when it comes to that part.

      1. I guess so too.
        At school, me and a friend who were equally terrified, a teacher would want us all to jump in the pool, from the side of the pool. Neither of us could do that. We wouldn’t even do it with floats. This used to happen each week, so I never looked forward to it for this, or possible swimming races.

          1. It was, for both of us. We would look at each other both petrified. We couldn’t do it. Observing my friends fear, she was that scared her teeth were chatting.
            We were both fine being in the water. We just couldn’t have the courage to jump in the pool in any way they tried. We hated that pressure each week.

              1. We were both 11 when that happened. I can’t remember how many weeks we had swimming for, before it ends for something different in sport. But we couldn’t wait for it to end. It may have happened again when we were 12, when swimming came round for another year, for so many weeks.

                  1. I wouldn’t want any child to be treated as we were, trying to get us to jump in the pool in some form. Which failed. We never went in the pool other than via the steps.

  2. We moved to a place by the ocean when I was six. I had lessons at school that didn’t stick, but walking through tidal pools and running into the surf led to a love of water. Over time, with help, I learned to move beyond the dog paddle.
    I had one bad experience when I stubbornly went on the water slide at the pool when I couldn’t swim and almost drown. Such a scary feeling – totally understand why you wouldn’t want to swim.

    1. Yes, it was a scary feeling. That’s great that you grew up near the ocean! I don’t mind wading in lakes or oceans, but I don’t venture very far.

  3. That twinning thing is happening again… Freaky! My father threw me into my grandparent’s pool and I sunk too. Thank goodness for my cousin coming to m rescue. All I heard from underneath the water was all the adults laughing, and remembering to myself… “How dare they laugh, I’m drowning!”
    I too went for swimming lessons through my school when I was in 4th grade and the same fear gripped me all over again.
    It wasn’t until I was 11 that my great-aunt Ruthie had invited me over to spend most of the Summer with her. She was also the one that taught me how to crochet… Anyway, she was very patient with me and taught me how to swim and float.
    If it came to me swimming underwater though, I still hold my nose because of the fear of when I was a little girl.
    Now… There is no way I would even think of putting on a bathing suit and go near a pool or beach. I gained so much weight… I’d scare others out of the water. LOL!

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