Fear Of Drowning

When I was young, I never learnt to swim and had this mixture of being drawn to the water, yet being afraid of drowning because I couldn't swim. My mother tried to teach me when I was about 9 or 10, but the sea water was pretty cold and I was always a skinny boy, so got cold before she could teach me anything. She wasn't a great swimmer herself, so i'm not sure whether she could have taught me anyway.

I was in my mid 20s before I plucked up the courage to go to an evening class to learn to swim. The teacher was a keen swimmer, but the one thing he taught us was to be confident in the water. We stood in shallow water and bent down to pick a rubber brick from the bottom. When we got to deeper water, we discovered that we had to swim down to get the brick. From then on, we managed to splash along and get across the pool. The teacher wasn't a qualified swimming coach, so my stroke was bad.

In the 1980s, when I was in my 30s, I booked a course in swimming for improvers. Here, I had a proper swimming coach and managed to master the breast stroke, which is the only stroke I now use: I never learnt to do the front crawl. But it meant that I could now swim lengths without too much difficulty. In the early 1990s, our local pool encouraged swimmers by offering a T-shirt when we swam the equivalent distance in the pool to the length of Loch Ness (about 22 miles). I was the first person to finish. We recorded how many lengths we did each time we visited the pool and these were kept by the pool staff so we couldn't cheat (not that we would have).

From then, I've swum in the waters around New Zealand, Australia, Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the UK. I enjoy being able to do this and I live about half a mile from the sea and can walk from my house for a sea dip when the weather is nice and the water is reasonably warm (in the summer). 
uwaterskye uwaterskye
70+, M
Jan 6, 2013