I have completed three triathlons and am now signed up for a fourth. So far in all of my races my swim leg has been the worst part. Knowing this, I have intentionally spent more time in the pool trying to improve. Last week I did something I never thought I would. I took a swim lesson. Obviously I know how to swim well enough to not drown, but I have never had someone coach me on my form (other than my pal Josh teaching me some pointers from YouTube videos he watched). Taking a swim lesson was a humbling experience. I’m always a little self-conscious when I swim at the gym, but have someone who was being paid to watch and critique me raised that level.
I was relived to hear that my stroke wasn’t all that bad. She had some pointers but also told me I was well on my way. That was refreshing to hear. I didn’t look like an idiot swimming laps after all. Then she suggested I work on a backstroke as a change of pace stroke. I had originally told her I would like to develop the breaststroke as a change of pace stroke, but she said the backstroke would probably help more because my mouth and nose would be out of the water the entire time. This would give me a chance to catch my breath than the breaststroke would.
This is where the lesson got super embarrassing. My backstroke is terrible and I knew it. When she asked me to swim and show her so she could get an idea of where I was, I wanted to tell her, “Just go ahead and start from square one.” I bit the bullet and showed her how bad it is. When you have good form, your nose and mouth should always stay above the water. I’m pretty sure that mine were under more than they were above. She gave me some pointers and we worked on it some.
Seeing how bad it was she started me with the “beginners” backstroke. She even said, “when I am teaching kids, I start them with this method.” If that doesn’t humble you at 30, not much will. So I learned the baby backstroke. It went better than my “almost drowning” method. After a bit of that, she had me try the real backstroke again. I had slightly improved but still have a long long long long long way to go.
I’d like to always be in a place where I am learning something. Sometimes that is not an easy process. Sometimes it is going to be humbling and slightly embarrassing. Proverbs 1:5 says, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” I’d be a fool to think I had nothing left to learn. The past few months, I have pushed myself hard into some new territories. I’ve opened myself up to new ideas and I’ve seen growth from it. I truly believe the moment I stop learning will be the moment I stop moving forward.
until next time…
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