Drowning not waving

Image result for drowning in the poolI’m terrified of deep water. If I can’t stand up in it then I’m a) clinging to the nearest stationary and solid object b) peeing in terror and c) screaming.

I’d like to think that it’s this which made me such a great sailor for all those years; abject fear of ending up in the water is a fantastic motivator to staying upright.  I learned how to capsize and right a boat only getting my feet wet.. mainly because I swim like a stone.

The signs weren’t good from the get go. Early swimming lessons at the local pool with my sister kicked off with a lesson in floating. As my body sank to the bottom of the pool and my very very short life flashed before my eyes, it was only the shouting of my mother from the balcony “Grab your sister NOW” that assured my existence. Needless to say, I didn’t take my feet off the bottom of the pool for the next 20 years.

Fast forward to 40 something and in the midst of a life crisis it came to me. I needed to learn how to be comfortable in the pool. Maybe..if I could swim with ease… I’d have one less thing to be terrified of  and live happily ever after. (with a pool)

As I now embark on my 4th set of private lessons I’m still terrified in any pool over 4ft deep. I have my strokes down pat but as soon I see the bottom of the pool deepening I’m heading to the bottom await my drowning. And this time, my sister’s hand is 4,200 miles away.

I’ve tried chanting, wearing fins, closing my eyes, looking ahead instead of down and even Valium. Nothing. Choking, panic, snorting and inhalation of an awful lot of water and once, a lifeguard actually ran to help me..  and still.. nothing makes it less horrid.

So maybe I’ll see you at the pool. I’ll be the one looking for the life lesson wearing horse blinkers and a noodle.   Be sure to look for my wave.

2 thoughts on “Drowning not waving”

  1. I have this problem, too. Cannot even tread water. I’ve had people help me and taken lessons at a local collage for a few days, but looking through the depth of he Olympic size pool with my goggles on induced a panic… and at night remembering the sounds of the splashing was keeping me awake and sending me into cold sweats. Here I am a few years later as an American transplant in the UK and planning to take lessons next year. I’m in a fairly new relationship with an obsessive cyclist and I’ve not had the nerve to tell him I taught myself to ride a bike in my 20s, so I’m terrible… And by the way, don’t swim either. Ack! You’re not alone… Keep going!!


    1. Thanks! And its lovely to hear that I’m not the only one who can’t tread water who hates the deep water in the pool 🙂 And there’s not such thing as a terrible cyclist. Keep getting out there and you can always say ‘go ahead, I”ll meet you at X’. Takes the pressure off.


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