Monday, July 10, 2017

Student Teacher

July 8th, 2017

I walked into the pool and it was quiet and stuffy. One lone man was standing in the water. How are you? I asked.
Not good, he said in his strong Indian accent. He smiled a big white keyboard smile.
The water will make it better, swimming cures everything, I replied.
I hope so. Will you show me? he asked. I want to know how to swim.
Sure, but first I'm just going to open the doors to let some air in, and get some flotation tools.
Sure no problem, take your time, he said.
I grabbed two bright orange foam noodles and two sets of foam barbells and two blue kick boards and my foam belt just in case he wanted to use them.
I am not an official swim teacher but I can show you what I know. First let's walk across the pool. It's only 5 feet deep at the highest point but this way you know you can always stand up. He was smiling ear to ear as we crossed the deepest part. How tall are you?
Five ten.
Perfect, I am five five. The deepest part is five feet.
He was still smiling. Wow I can do it, I am not afraid. How do you swim? He wanted to see what it looked like. I swam a lap, a medley of the crawl, back stroke, and breast stroke.
How do you kick?
I don't know let me look. I kicked and looked at my legs underwater using my goggles. Then he tried. Maybe hold the wall and try again, I said.
With your feet like this or like this? he asked, pointing and unpointing his toes.
Pointing toes. He tried again.
It's just like learning to ride a bicycle, you take it slow, I said.
I am going to Orlando and Miami for 5 days on August 10th and I want to be able to swim in the pools. He held up his tiny computer. It was legs in a pool swimming.
How did you do that? Is it waterproof? Did you film yourself in the water?
No, I was looking at youtube videos to learn how to swim.
I laughed. That's like teaching yourself how to fly a plane by reading the owners manual while you are in the air! OK, try this - push down on the foam bar bells with you arms and you will bounce up. This teaches you a way to rise up in the water. He put on the foam belt and held two kick boards on top of each other while kicking.
Wow! he said.
Then he got the foam arm bands and put them on his ankles as floats. He leaned back with the two orange noodles tucked under his arms and paddled around. He drifted over to the deep end, lost his balance, and capsized in the deep water. And he couldn't touch bottom due to the flotation on his ankles!
Help me!
I swam over and took him by his elbow. We glided back to the shallow end. I hadn't realized that with the floats on his ankles one false move and he was like a tippy canoe!
You saved my life!
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you were unsafe because of the floats.
It's okay, I trusted you, he said. And God. We both had a flush of adrenaline.
This is why it's always good to have a lifeguard and a healthy respect for the water. Never swim alone!
I will take one float off so I can always touch bottom.
Good idea.
He clutched the wall and practiced kicking. After a while his lower back became stiff and sore. I showed him how to stretch bringing his knees up and leaning back while holding onto the ladder. Then he got a cramp in his calf and had to take a walk around the pool.
Be careful! I said. You're getting new muscles. I swam laps while he practiced.
Now I am ready to practice my arms, he said. I showed him the breast stroke.
How do you hold your hands?
Like cups. I showed him how I guide my arms and then how to do the the frog kick.
OK, now show me breathing, he said. I hesitated. You don't know me, I am disciplined, determined! Look, I lost 50 pounds in 4 months! He showed me a photo of himself. I am very disciplined and motivated
And smart, I added.
Obviously, he said, smiling, but not conceited. I can't wait to bring my 4 year old son here to swim. I was in the ocean last week and got scared. I realized I need to learn to swim! Nobody would take me at all of the local swim clubs. Then LJ said Monday at 6:30 he will teach me here.
You will surprise him, you will already know how to swim! You are an excellent student, I said.
And you are a gift from God, he said.
It's mutual. I'd like to teach the whole world to swim!

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
- Zen proverb