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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Not waving, but drowning...

Kat's posts last month about Kirkham Baths really stirred some memories! So much so, that when my course wanted me to write about a "memorable learning experience" I decided to exorcise a demon by putting it out into the public domain.

So here's what happened at Kirkham Baths, one day in autumn 1964.


Out of my depth

I was 11, a shy overweight child. It was our first school trip to the baths (public pool) for a swimming lesson. I’d never been to the baths before. We all got changed & anyone who couldn’t swim was asked to sit on the side, at the shallow end. There was only me. Along came a teacher (not our regular one). “What are you doing? Come on! Into the water with you!” So I hoisted myself off the edge & into the water… & under the water, as my legs - completely unexpectedly - went from under me. The thrashing, splashing terror seemed to last a long, long time, till a classmate came & helped me stand upright. I was crying in shock & confusion, extremely embarrassed as everyone was staring, & my knee was bleeding.
That day, I learned about buoyancy. I didn’t learn to swim until I was 18.

Why it was memorable

I remember this vividly over forty years later, because it was such a frightening & humiliating public experience.

3 Comments:

  • At 22 February, 2006 14:36, Blogger Rob Spence said…

    Blimey! Still got post-traumatic shock from the sound of it! Why are swimming coaches always such bastards?

     
  • At 22 February, 2006 18:12, Blogger kat said…

    Not an uncommon experience. Many people seem to have similar stories about swimming lessons. PE and the showers seems to be another negative experience for many. I don't think the swimming instructors at Kirkham, these days, are insensitive but Luke's instructor did push him into the deep-end when he was 6. She only had to push one child - All the others followed for fear of it happening to them. I think she knew what she was doing in Luke's case. He got out and gave her a good telling off but she just took it on the chin. It was traumatic for me though. I was stood on the balcony waiting for my baby to appear from the depths. He had been with the same instructor since he was 3 and he was a good swimmer but even so - the deep end! He is still cross about it even today but luckily it hasn't affected his swimming abilities or his confidence.

     
  • At 23 February, 2006 11:19, Blogger Morning-Loves-It said…

    I'm so cared of water because of a similar experience that I can't even take a shower! Have to wash a bit at a time. And as far wet shower curtains wrapping themselves round me (fainted)

    Hate swimming pools, the sea (expect to look at) and prefer rivers because at least I can see river banks either side.

     

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