“Press your feet together,” she said, grabbing my feet and pushing them toward my body. “Like that!”
When we got to the edge of the pool, she pulled herself out, quickly laid a towel over a rubber mat, and asked if I’d ever done ballet.
“Do I look like I’ve done ballet?”
“I don’t know who’s done ballet!”
“I’m not coordinated enough. Anyway.”
My trainer, a 19-year-old former ballet dancer and gymnast (and, apparently, swimmer), lay on her belly in a cobra pose–pelvis down, legs back. Then, she put the soles of her feet together.
“Like this,” she said. “Butt down. Like a frog. This is the frog stretch in ballet.”
It was my turn again: shove off the wall, hold the kickboard, and focus on bringing my feet together, tucking my knees toward my chest, and then kicking back, both legs together. Never had I put so much effort into breaststroke. And it was hard.
I used to enjoy doing triathlons, and I was a fast swimmer compared to others in my waves, but did I even really know how to swim?
There I was in the pool yesterday, learning to swim for what seemed like the first time.
While I took years of lessons as a kid, I was too preoccupied with the prospect of drowning to really learn.
I’m trying to say that I used to think I was good at this thing, and now I’ve learned not that I’ve done it wrong, necessarily, but that I can improve. It’s humbling. I’m taking in more water than I’m splashing, and I even accidentally spat all over my trainer.
The point? You’ve got to have fun, remember not to hold your breath under water, and not be embarrassed to do the frog.