to breathe . . . or not to breathe

June 17, 2013

For some reason my friend has decided to ask me to teach her how to swim properly while I am in town. I wonder if she is second-guessing that entrustment now . . .
We have had a number of entertaining experiences with it already, only 3 days into the lessons. For one, we had a young audience yesterday. After watching us for some time, with a quizzical expression on her face, she turned to her mother. We realized what she must have been asking when we heard her mother explaining that grown-ups do not automatically know how to swim. “Just because you know how to swim,” she began, “it doesn’t mean all adults know how. Even grown-ups have to learn how if they’ve never been taught . . .” The girl nodded and turned back to watch us again, though it was clear that she still was not quite clear on the concept.
Today we tackled breathing. I tried to encourage H with the fact that breathing is one of the hardest parts of learning the strokes as we began the lesson. After practicing a few times, I noticed that she was taking rather timid-looking breaths. I told her she needed to boldly “claim” that breath, then I demonstrated for her what, so far as I could tell, she was doing. She burst into laughter, frustrating my efforts to then show how the breath should look. We eventually settled on photographic attempts to capture what breathing should photo 4. . . and should not photo 1look like.
Then we decided we had worked hard enough for the day and launched into poolside practice of our Zumba routines. I’m not sure how effective the lesson was. But I’m quite sure we managed to thoroughly entertain our fellow swimmers.

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