bluefluff's blue fluff

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.


  • 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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