Leanne Shapton in her book Swimming Studies (which is well worth reading), makes a distinction between swimming and bathing. Having trained hard and been a competitive swimmer for years, she sees swimming as a struggle; a challenge, a test. She describes time spent relaxing in the water as bathing. The dictionary definition of bathing is: “to go into the water for swimming or other recreation”. Throughout her book Leanne is trying to come to terms with the difference between swimming as a competitive sport and swimming for fun. She needs two different terms to seperate the two ideas. As swimming teachers we also have that problem. The work that we do in the water to improve people’s awareness and confidence is not always seen as swimming, so what is it? Does swimming always have to be “getting from A to B”, or can it just be enjoying the water?
Victoria and I float very differently in the water. My legs sink down after a few seconds, hers sink very slowly (not at all if she is wearing a wetsuit). We are both very aware and accepting of what happens to our bodies if we do nothing in the water. We are comfortable with the way the water supports us. Click here to see youtube clip.
If you are to become comfortable with the way the water supports you, you need to realise that your ‘doing nothing’ position in the water may not match the picture in your head, or be the same as other people that you are comparing yourself to.
Be open to the forces acting on your body in the water. You don’t have buoyancy, it is an upwards force that will hold up the parts of you that are less dense than water. Don’t have expectations just enjoy the feeling.