This is a second part of my swimming experience blog. Read previous blog here
Diving and swimming – Difficulties with contact lenses
As I normally wear contact lenses, I used to wear swimming goggles to make sure I don’t loose the lenses. This used to create difficulties when we started swimming by diving. I was constantly worrying about contact lenses and every time I dive, the goggles used to move and I immediately stop to make sure lenses are intact. Due to this problem, I gave up diving and thought of learning with gliding instead so I don’t waste lot of time in learning the swimming. So for few days I tried to complete breadth starting with gliding. After I learned that I thought finally I have to dive also so I began diving again and again I faced the problems with contact lenses and goggles. So I decided to remove lenses while swimming and got rid of goggles. This was a good decision. Now after diving I could focus on swimming. So finally I was able to complete 3-4 breadths in a day. Coaches normally move people in deep section when they can do 3-4 breadths for few days and then we have to do breadths in deep.
Going in Deep – The Fear Factor
“Fear has killed more dreams than failure ever will”
Now here most people get more nervous and I was no exception. There was always fear of drowning Okay we were just able to finish 3-4 breadths in shallow part of the pool and that also was very taxing and now we have to do it in deep water. So what happened is I used to jump as far as possible and swim so fast to finish the breadth and reach the other end of the pool. But after that I used to get very exhausted, my muscles used to become sore and I used to hyperventilate. Still I used to do few breadths in deep also. But then the coaches asked us to try to complete L, C or O shapes whichever possible. This means after finishing breadth you turn and reach next edge of the pool, turn again and repeat till you reach the starting point. Initially I could finish breadth only and quickly grab the edge of the pool. I asked coach what’s wrong. They said its due to gym. My body had become somewhat stiff. I couldn’t relax body and it used to stay tense during swimming so I had to work hard to stay afloat and to move ahead which was making me tired and breathless. Initially I used to go to gym at 7 AM and then after that I used to go for swimming at 8:15 AM. Obviously I used to be little tired after gym and my body was also stiff as muscles are sometimes sore after gym. So after continuing for 15 days like that, I decided to take a break from gym and finish swimming so I could relax the body and probably swim better. However it still didn’t help. After full session, my whole body used to pump up like if I did full body workout at gym and I used to get tired. Coaches constantly reminded to keep body relaxed and move slowly. The problem continued and I could barely complete “L”. So at the end of month they sent me back to shallow as they had to take test for people who could complete full “O”.
I used to discuss about my swimming lessons with my friend Mineshbhai. He given very good advice. He told me that “This is happening because you’re taking this as a task. Don’t think of it like a task and just enjoy the water, don’t hurry up to finish task, just enjoy you time in water.”. What a wonderful advice, this can be applied to any professional or personal task we do.
If we do it as task, we have deadline, probably fear, stress, performance pressure, etc. But instead of focusing on finishing task, if we simply enjoy the task then we can be at peace and can do the task more effectively and happily. Also sometimes it is important to unlearn and relearn as our current learning sometimes prevents new learning. We can not apply our same beliefs in every situation and each different situation requires different level of thinking.
Jumping from diving platform – Leap of faith
While we were practicing in deep water, one day coaches took us on diving platform and shown how to jump. We always looked at platform and were thinking if/when we’ll get chance to jump from there. It didn’t look too high from the pool. However when we went there, it was frightening. It was little over 2 floors higher. This seemed like most crazy thing I was about to do in several years. We look down and get frightened even if we knew it is safe and it won’t hurt(well that’s what coaches told us). Still there was lot of fear. However there were few brave persons in our group that time who took initiative and jumped which gave us some courage and finally I also jumped. Before jump, it was most frightening but after jumping and falling in water, it was most amazing experience. Due to such situation, there was adrenaline rush. I’ll give brief info about that in case someone is not familiar. When you’re in dangerous situation, your body releases adrenaline which generates flight or fight responses. It increases heart beats, increases blood supply to vital organs and reduces pain sensation. This allows us to fight or run away from difficult situation. So after jumping, automatically we put swimming knowledge to use, move hands and legs and come out as soon as possible and grab the edge of the pool. This was the most amazing experience I had in many years. It felt extremely satisfied and refreshing and this became my favorite pool activity and I kept asking coaches when we’ll do it again, till I went to regular batch.
Often the things which we’re afraid of are challenging but when we do it it gives immense pleasure and satisfaction after completion.
Sometimes we have to take the leap of faith and follow the coach/guide. I am not in favor of blind faith. We should use logic, reasoning and conscience.
As in the last days of July, 2013, I was sure I wouldn’t pass test, I decided I’ll continue in August and paid fees. Also our company Ecosmob completed 6 years in July 2013, so we had series of celebrations throughout July followed by grand celebration on 15th August. I was practicing swimming in August but after 1st week, I had terrible cold and terribly sore throat. I decided to stop swimming for a while to recover and avoid infecting more people :). This continued for 2 weeks and our annual function was during that time. I was feeling quite bad as I couldn’t speak properly due to sore throat and was little low on energy due to cold and fever. This was the most terrible cold I ever had. Even one night I couldn’t sleep as I was unable to breath. Next day I visited doctor and was diagonalized with viral fever. It took me one additional week to recover fully from cold and fever. Now it was the last week of August and as I resumed swimming after a long time, I was again having difficulties. So again I had to pay fees for September to continue learning.
In beginning my friends predicted that I would learn in 2-3 weeks but it was 2 months and still I couldn’t pass the test.
Want to know how this learning goes? Stay tuned & check my next and final post at same blog.