When I was a child, my dad called me a water baby. I was rubbish at all sports until my parents signed me up for swimming lessons aged 11. Strangely, the limbs that were slow, sluggish and uncoordinated on land quickly became the opposite in water.
I progressed through the different classes quite quickly, enjoying learning new techniques and gaining confidence alongside more badges than my mum could sew on the specially bought tracksuit for my Friday night lessons.
Don’t get me wrong, I never became a fast swimmer as such, so remained a sporting disappointment at school, but I had found the one physical exercise I truly enjoyed and performed well.
I still love the feel of propelling myself through the silky wetness, losing myself in the precision of positioning and movement that lead to the most efficient technique, varying the strokes to stretch different muscle groups, concentrating on the rhythm of breaths and lengths completed. I don’t feel self conscious in water and I don’t feel overweight.
I don’t know why I don’t go regularly any more.
Nowadays I’m more likely to get that sense of mindfulness and achievement from a yoga class after work. It’s more convenient, accessible, and cost effective.
But I can’t forget the sense of being in the element I was made for when I’m in water. I wonder if swimming is the nearest human feeling to angels flying? Or whether heaven will feel like this?