I know Brenda because she married into a family that is basically a second family to me. I don’t see her very often and she was so much more comfortable than the last time I saw her in a pool (about 7 years ago). I had taken her son, Austin, in the water when he was a baby. At that time, Brenda did not want anything to do with the water. Now, she was fairly confident in the shallow end, which pleasantly surprised me. I said, “Can you swim at all?” “Yea,” she looked at me like that was a silly question. I was serious.
She showed me how she swam across the shallow area with a modified breast stroke, head up until I told her to put her face in the water. This is very deceiving and I often see it, especially with adults. It looks like swimming. It feels like swimming. But is it really swimming? Well, ‘Yes’ because she is propelling herself through the water. But ‘No,’ because as soon as she knows her feet can’t touch the bottom, the confidence shatters and the panic sets in.
I’ve worked with many adults like this- Confident, important, decision-making, Type A individuals that must have control over the office, the home, the family, etc. Brenda kept her composure… until we headed toward the deep end. Then her eyes got wide and she would start talking fast: “It’s cold. The water’s cold.” “Why are we doing this?” Brenda looked at me half-smiling/ half-guiltily and said, “I’m kind of a control freak.” Aaaahhh…it’s about control. That makes perfect sense.
Adults are really interesting- I enjoy the psychology involved with getting them to trust me. Brenda tensed up and started to come up with excuses when she ventured outside her comfort zone. She refused the fins, and I somehow talked her into them. Once again, FINIS saved the day with fins! They’re such a great teaching tool. I just kept telling Brenda, “You’re fine. You’ve got this.” I can’t imagine how overwhelming it can be to learn to swim as an adult. For one reason or another, that fear and hesitation is there, and usually has been for a very long time.
Brenda pushed herself- she was adement about conquering her fear. Her two kids were there as well, which was an added push- she wanted to do it for them as well as for herself. As she began to successfully navigate the deep end, first with fins, then without, I could see her confidence building with the huge smile on her face. She must have felt empowered as she pushed off the wall and swam a relaxed, casual lap of freestyle, like she’d been doing it her whole life. Great job, Brenda!
Check out Brenda’s amazing progress:
I recently read an article about Will Smith that surprised me. Click the picture below to read (it’s short):
Will says that he’s embarrassed that he can’t swim. I don’t know him personally, but he seems like a wonderful person, and I don’t think he realizes the impact his words have on his fans. He’s a role model; his words are powerful. I want to teach Will to swim. Click below to read one of many reasons why…
Look at the statistics: