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August 24, 2005

I swam 300m in almost exactly 15 minutes this morning.

That doesn’t sound like anything to write home (or on the web) about, but it is a pretty big deal for me. Up until this Easter, I didn’t swim, at all; I learnt to do it when I was 9 or so but from the age of 15, when I no longer had to swim a couple of times a year at phys ed, I hadn’t been in water where I couldn’t comfortably stand up. Over the years I built up rather a fear of deep water, making me avoid it at all costs, despite knowing that swimming is something that would be good for my back (which has been hurting chronically since I was about 8.)

Then, at Easter, I suddenly discovered that I could swim, in the hotel pool at the Hinckley Island hotel. Being a hotel pool, it was small, warm and kidney-shaped, and I could reach the bottom everywhere – which was exactly what I needed to dare try a few breast strokes, and as the days went by, more than just a few. It was pretty difficult, because of the pool size and the presence of splashing kids, to swim more than 50m, but that was good enough for me at that point.

Johan and I went swimming in one of the local pools in Uppsala this summer – the same place I learnt to swim once upon a time, but much rebuilt and renovated now, and only open for people over 18 which is great if you actually want to swim. The pool is 25m, and the first two times we went I only swam one length at a time, so I didn’t have to get out on the deep without a pool edge close by. (This is where people generally giggle, but that’s ok.) After that, I increased the amount of swimming I did, but without really pushing myself because I still had to overcome the fear of actually trusting the water to hold me up.

Yesterday, I bought a one-year swim pass at said bathing establishment. Today I swam 300m without stopping, in slightly less than 15 minutes.

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