Learning to Swim

Today’s topic for Throwback Thursday is “learning to swim”. There are no specific questions, but we are allowed to interpret the topic as we see fit. Here goes.

I got my first swimming lessons at the special school for the visually impaired I attended from first up to third grade. I, however, was very scared of the water and particularly of the deeper end. I vividly remember my teacher taking me to the deep end and my anxiously asking her if she could stand there. She was quite tall, but even so, she couldn’t. That scared me intensely.

According to my parents, my teachers were just overprotective, so my parents put me in swimming lessons at the pool close by their home. I didn’t need to start at the really shallow end, as I had had some swimming experience already, but could start at the 90cm deep second pool. Within a week, I was moved to the 110cm deep third pool, even though I think I protested.

It took me several more years before I earned my first swimming diploma. This first diploma at the time required students to be able to do breaststroke and backstroke, to swim one pool length with loose-fitting clothing, to tread water, etc., but it did not require students to swim underwater.

By the time I got my diploma, I had transferred to another school for the blind, where I had once again been put into the relatively shallow pool. I proudly showed my teachers my swimming diploma that I’d earned at home and was reluctantly transferred to the deep end.

From earning my first swimming diploma to my second, it took me only about eight months. The second diploma required students to swim 7m underwater. There was no way I could see whether I’d passed the 7m mark, so I had to guess. According to my parents, I swam about 11m.

After that, I had swimming lessons for the next three years that I was at various schools for the blind, but I never earned any more diplomas or certificates. The reason was, once again, the fact that my fear started to act up. After all, I wouldn’t swim under a mat. My parents, however, were okay with it this time. After all, my sister never moved beyond her second swimming diploma either.

I now can swim in a pool or lake. When my parents took me and my sister on vacation to Vlieland, I would also sometimes swim in the North Sea. I doubt I’d be able to save myself should I get underwater unintendedly though.

16 thoughts on “Learning to Swim

    1. I agree it’s important that children learn to swim for their own safety. When I said I may not be able to save myself, I was thinking about the more dangerous water-related accidents. I wouldn’t drown in, say, a neighborhood pond or a ditch.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Astrid, you have met so many challenges I can hardly imagine. I know how panicked I was when I could not see, so your achievements are impressive to me. I like to think I could save myself but honestly I am not sure.

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    1. Thank you for commenting. Here in the Netherlands, most children can swim, though today’s generation of kids aren’t anymore earning their second diploma as often as my generation used to.

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    1. Oh, that’s so interesting. You’re from Pakistan, right? I think people in countries or regions not close by the sea, don’t learn to swim as a general rule. I mean, like I said, here in t he Netherlands most children earn at least one, if not two or three, swimming diplomas.

      Liked by 1 person

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