The Early Years: Jim Can’t Swim. Or Run.

So this week I reached into my pile of ancient elementary school paperwork and pulled out this one:

I do remember wanting an underground pool when I was little.  In upstate New York, the outdoor swimming season was not very long.  Evidently I didn’t swim very well. I can’t imagine why; I had lessons at a local college. (As I recall, these lessons involved throwing us into the water and poking us with long sticks to keep us from climbing out again; but it was a long time ago and I may be misremembering.) The teacher thought it was very nice that I was a schlub, though, so it’s all good.

In any case, I think I swim okay now. I’m still not particularly fast, though. Unless you count my Viennese waltz.

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6 Comments

  1. Do you remember the “Water Babies” class at the YWCA? Probably not, you were only a toddler. The Moms were actually in the water with the “babies”, you and Missy Boeppel even had your pictures in the paper. I’m sure the paper is around here somewhere, will have to look for it one of these days. At Hamilton College the instructors “encouraged” the young swimmers and maybe extended a pole in case a swimmer got into difficulty, it’s been a while and my memory is a bit fuzzy (and maybe a little selective). In any event it prepared you and John for our cross country trip so it was a good thing. :-)))

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  2. I was a tourist town kid, our little town doubled in population every June 1st. So the lake was within walking distance of my house and we all spent our days in poor excuses for real swimming, dog paddling endlessly. The lake had a huge slide, that was IN the lake, you climbed it, and flew down into deeper water. A big floating log was there too, that you tried your mightiest to stand on. It was a great way to spend the summer!

    Jo and Stella

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  3. I’m pretty sure my swimming lessons were very similar to how you described yours. I remember struggling to get my 50 metre certificate, looking up at the instructor on the side of the pool and saying I couldn’t breathe, and she said ‘Breathing isn’t swimming’…No wonder I was so suspicious of grownups.

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  4. I got a few “Walter Safety” badges sewn onto my trunks as kid, but I only really excelled at doing the “Starfish” maneuver.
    I took lessons at the Fire Station’s outdoor pool, so I could swim at the beach next to the Pulp Mill: the sea water by the Pulp Mill was warmer for some reason.

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