My swimming lesson


Many of my stories are entirely or to a large extent made up. Not this.


When I was eight years old, the unfortunate moment came when my parents, after reading an advertisement in the paper, thought it was a good idea to send me to swimming lessons. School swimming didn't exist, at least not at the boys' school where I was at the time.

Let's just be clear right away: swimming wasn't exactly my preference. But since I was taken to the pool in question and was taken, running away was not an option.

The first two lessons I sparked by the absence of an attack of asthmatic bronchitis, a condition that often appeared in times of tension. Because when it came to water, I was a shitthrush.. So to speak, I dived away from a simple spring.

But good. That third lesson I was there, and I was shivering along the side in the tub between a lot of peers in bathing trunks and swimsuits. By the way, most of them found it fine in that water. On the side stood high and dry the lifeguard, a type who might also do well as a jailer in a prison and had little patience with anxious, nervous little guys.

It started right away: we had to drive to the other side. A breeze for the countless water rats who had already familiarized themselves with all that wetness for two lessons. For me not much less than a disaster, I had no idea what was expected of me and how I should bring this piece of art to a successful conclusion. Helplessly I looked at the lifeguard and stamped very shy something about 'been ill. '. The man in question did not hear me, or had no message to my fear, and gave me a nudge. My legs lost contact with the bottom and I suddenly had water below and above me, with no idea what the top or bottom of the bath was. My spartel didn't attract attention, or might have been interpreted as some kind of show. Luckily I finally came up. As far as I'm concerned, there was one feeling, one emotion: outright panic. When I think back to it, I can still feel it. “All right, “said the guard, but I had no idea what was so good about almost drowning..

In the following classes, one after the other fellow departed from the instructional bath to the large bath, which was one floor higher. The pies stayed behind. Only after several subsequent lessons it became clear that I would not make it this way and an extra bath lady was called in, who tried to make me a little bit of anhydrous by the wide steps of the bath. That did not really succeed, where most others could swing a swim diploma after the course I was empty-handed, but I was very relieved that the swimming test was over.

Not for long unfortunately, because the year after that started school swimming. This time not in a heated indoor pool, but in a rather fresh outdoor pool. Around that bath in itself a nice environment, with a lawn and some lime trees. But as a school class, we didn't get any further than the dressing room and the dreaded wetness. As the youngest of the class, with a strong swimming trauma, this was also unsuccessful. My fast classmates overtook me in the small swimming competitions on all sides, although in the meantime I could move forward swimmingly. Here too, at the end of the course, bathing diplomas were swung on all sides.. I stood there and looked at it. In the end I, especially myself, learned swimming and I think I can do it quite well by now, swimming diplomas have never been there and that's totally fine. The pool where my swimming career started rather unsuccessful closed a few years ago, in 1998 it was demolished. That gave, it is undoubtedly misplaced, yet a sense of justice...


(c) 2021 Hans van Gemert

Image: Pixabay


This story fits into the vocabulary #writingchallenge van Schrijvelarij (FB-group): use the following keywords in a story (of up to 800):

Spring Wags Shitthrush Linden Tree Swimming Competition Preferred Running Prison Swimsuit Show Advertisement

Some more of my fills of this writing challenge: