Thursday, March 02, 2006

Learning to swim

I grew up far from decent pools and never thinking of myself as athletic. I couldn't play basketball, softball, or run. I could ride a bike and liked to walk. But when my mom came home one day and said she had signed me up for swimming lessons, I cried for happiness, although I don't really remember the lessons or becoming much of a swimmer at that point. These lessons were at the Spring Grill Motel outdoor pool where kids did splash and play all summer.

I do remember swimming in a lake with Steve Cornett while our families camped together; I ducked my head underwater and my glasses slipped off. I felt them slip through my fingers as they sank to the bottom. My folks really scolded me for that.

While in high school in Murfreesboro I went to a backyard pool party where I raced 2 boys down and back and beat them; one said "how did you do that?"

Then we moved to the VI, swimming paradise. Learned to snorkel, did some splashing and playing. Sometimes after school if I'd come by ferry into Caneel Bay where my mom worked in reservations, I'd swim there waiting for her to get off work. Her friend Rory was usually there and she taught me the basics of crawl and breaststroke.

Then when I got to Maryville College I passed the freshman swimming test and took water safety instructor, becoming a lifeguard at the college pool. However I don't think I swam much more than enough to pass the course and the lifeguard certification.

After graduation I worked at UT in Knoxville and joined the aquatic center where I swam occasionally but never really got into a regular routine of it. Worked on a masters in library science and became assistant librarian at Tennessee Wesleyan College, promptly joined the Y in Athens around age 30. I got a book at the public library to learn strokes better. Eventually started a masters swim group here, but our small numbers made it hard to maintain. I did attend a couple of meets in Knoxville as did Jim Johnson from here. I spent several summers swimming with the Knoxville masters group "Prime Time" coached by Jenna Johnson, 1986 Olympian.

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