When I started to learn swimming at the age of 8, thanks to my mum, I fell in love with the pool. By the age of 11, I could master all four strokes and I finished 1st in our local club competition.
For the next 16 years, I never swam again and pursued other sports like tennis, soccer and nose picking. I fell in love with tennis as my dad would take me to practice 2-3 times a week and it just made my life.
Tennis, for the ones who do not know, is the sport of the elite. It’s not only a hit of a ball with a racket, rather it’s using all your bodily movements and intelligent brain lobes to win a tennis game. It doesn’t matter how good you are in the sport, you still won’t win. Tennis is the only sport that is not about winning or losing, it’s about playing with style. If you play a tennis game with a great style and lose the game, you win the hearts of every one watching, including your opponent’s.
Maybe I should write a separate post on tennis some other time. But now let us get back into swimming.
5 years ago, I was operating as a cabin crew on a long flight, and was having a very engaging conversation with the Captain. When he said are you a triathlete. At that time, I never heard that word before and did not know what it means, but as humans refuse to look stupid and not knowledgeable when it comes to new information, I went ‘Of course I am’ Then he went so what’s your best TT (Time Trial) ? When I said, excuse me I have to go to the bathroom.
Back then, I only just started running and a bit of grocery cycling. I was more into weight lifting and mingling with heavy weight fanatics in dirty old school Arni style gyms, hoping one day I would get the look that I thought would bring me more girls. Well it didn’t bring any to be honest. Nothing, None. Nada.
So I started incorporating some swim sessions along the week. The first few attempts, I couldn’t finish half the length of a pool, I would choke drinking so much water, I was so out of balance, I looked so novice, I would trade water like a handicapped legless poodle, basically I would make a scene out of myself.
With time and a how to swim magazine, I mastered the distance without stopping. The technique is horrendous and so is the speed but I could do 4km non stop, which was the best gift I could give to myself at my 30th Birthday. When I share this news with a 5-year-old swimmer, he gives me a smirk and swims away splashing water with his feet all over my face.
After a while I got the courage to swim in lanes during lane swim sessions. Before that I would never approach the lanes as it was too scary with swimmers in swim caps, Gucci goggles and some impossible to put on shorts.
So many times, I would get cut off, tapped on the feet, getting head to head butting, drinking chlorinated water, and shorts have slipped endless number of times before I could invest in some Gucci Jammers.
It took me a year of practice to swim like the pros and join them in the swim lanes. It took me a bit more to master the turn at the end of each length. I would look like a baby in his 3rd month inside a womb trying to turn inside his mummy. I would turn and start swimming to find myself in the other lane, some times in the baby pool.
It was really scary before I got back to swimming and I told myself its almost impossible to swim in the fast lane with those people, but practice makes perfect. All you need to do is fight and overcome fear. Fear is nothing but a thought developed from watching scary movies and too much news and people talking BS.
Any man or woman can master any skills they like, no matter what age or abilities they have. To master a skill, get a coach. If you can’t afford one like myself, get a magazine, watch you tube, read, ask other people who are good at that skill. Do not be afraid or shy to ask. Get your self out there and show your inner self what you are capable of. You will master the skill in less time than you thought.
I took the fast approach and started swimming in the middle lane right away after I could swim a few lengths. I didn’t swim in the slow lane or the free section of the pool. Then I moved onto the fast lane and guess what, as swimmers start cutting you off or tap your feet, you start accelerating and swim faster.
Tip: you actually swim faster in the fast lane as the drag is much less. The current is quicker than the other lanes and you can see your times progressing.
This process can be applied in any skill, whether its, public speaking or playing the piano. The best way to learn a new skill quick is to start learning right now. Do not worry about the tough bits. They will all be easier than you think when the time to do them comes.
By the way, if you are starting to work out after a long time of being sedentary, start with swimming as it’s the only sport that moves all your body muscles. You will not only lose weight, but the smell of chlorine on your skin would make you proud all day long.