How I Learnt To Swim -- Childhood Memories (6)

swimming lesson
@MALUSE (41235)
Germany
February 19, 2016 1:29pm CST
I learnt to swim when I was six years old. The local open-air swimming pool in our town in the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) had a special contraption for this stuck into the rim of the pool. Imagine the two metal poles holding a lifeboat on board a ship, it looked a bit like that. I had a firm band round my chest, about 15 cm broad closed at the back, with a rope clasped in ending in an eye so that it could move along the tight wire between the tops of the two poles which were about five metres apart. The instructor was standing outside telling me what to do. When I had learnt the basics, I went to a summer camp on an island in the Baltic sea where I learnt to swim freely in salt water and to enjoy waves. My mother and I left the GDR when I was eleven years old and moved to a town in Lower Saxony on the river Weser, one of the three German rivers flowing into the North Sea. We were about 50 km south of the coast and lived with the tides. We went swimming when the tide was high and the surface of the water calm for about half an hour. When the water is flowing in or out, the currents are too strong for most people. We lived in a house with a garden bordering the river. When the tide was high, I and my friends would swing in the boughs of a weeping willow Tarzan-style and then ass-bomb into the water. When I was 20 years old, I discovered the Mediterranean Sea. I hadn’t imagined that water could be so warm, so clean, but also so stagnant - no currents, no movement. I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere however much I moved my arms and legs. I bought fins, goggles and a snorkel and discovered a new way of swimming which is more floating and only occasionally moving the arms and legs and looking down at the fish than actively swimming. After my swimming lessons at the age of six I haven’t learnt anything else. I can only do breast stroke and this not very well. Somehow my right foot doesn’t want to stay under water. Because of this and/or because my left leg is stronger, I always swim slightly to the right if I don’t watch where I’m heading. But who cares? I don’t have to arrive at a certain destination, do I?! ----- If you're interested in more childhood memories, click on the green bar 'MALUS CHILDHOOD MEMORIES' above the title.
18 people like this
15 responses
@amnabas (10309)
• Karachi, Pakistan
19 Feb 16
Wow you learnt swimming too early.
3 people like this
@MALUSE (41235)
• Germany
19 Feb 16
Why 'too' early?
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (66110)
• India
26 Feb 16
@MALUSE ...well, we don't know how to swim in these parts of the world...one in 20 or 40 women may know swimming.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (39058)
• United States
20 Feb 16
I took swimming lessons from age 5 to 10 so am quite a proficient swimmer but you are right, how often to I use anything but floating these days?
1 person likes this
@DianneN (79946)
• United States
20 Feb 16
Swimming is important to know. My mother had us swimming at the beach from infancy, and I did likewise with both my sons. They still hold the records on their high school swim teams.
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (25890)
• United States
19 Feb 16
I started swimming at a young age too. I love the water.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (54508)
• United Kingdom
19 Feb 16
I've never seen anything like that contraption. My father taught me to swim and I would have been about the same age as you when I learnt.
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12755)
• New Zealand
29 Feb 16
Your photo is wonderful! I got quite excited seeing it. I'm currently trying to source a NZ based similar type of photo for my book.
@MALUSE (41235)
• Germany
29 Feb 16
You can use it if you like!
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12755)
• New Zealand
1 Mar 16
@MALUSE if you are happy with that I'd like to if I can't find a New Zealand one. Thanks. I'll let you know if I do.
@MALUSE (41235)
• Germany
1 Mar 16
@valmnz Which German can claim to have a photo in a book from New Zealand? You can message me your email address. Then I can send you an email with the photo should you want to use it.
• India
2 Jun
Wow! You are an early learner. Today there were four kids at the pool learning it. They were of the age of 5-8 years.
@MALUSE (41235)
• Germany
2 Jun
The earlier, the better!
1 person likes this
• India
3 Jun
@MALUSE I agree with you totally
@cherriefic (4708)
• Baguio, Philippines
19 Feb 16
I learn how to swim when I was about 4 years old. It was a beautiful accident.
@MALUSE (41235)
• Germany
19 Feb 16
'a beautiful accident'? Please explain.
@rakski (18648)
• Philippines
3 Jun
nice one! I hope I learn this early too
• Philippines
14 Oct
I had the opportunity to swim back in my elementary days, but I was too scared to float in the water so I didn't learn to do it.
@RasmaSandra (18422)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
12 Oct
Interesting about the method of learning to swim Being a poor swimmer I prefer doing my swimming in pools.
@AkoPinay (10032)
• Philippines
25 Feb 16
I also learned to swim at a tender age because we live by the beach :)
@Inlemay (16654)
• South Africa
22 Feb 16
That took a long time - I could swim at the age of 2 - my brother had drowned and my dad made sure we all could swim as soon as we could walk!
@shshiju (10545)
• Cochin, India
20 Feb 16
You have practiced swimming in a variety way.
@Asylum (48273)
• Manchester, England
20 Feb 16
I did not learn to swim until I was about 10 years old. I can still remember that most of the children in my class had acquired a 1 length swimming certificate the previous year, so I was determined not to be left out. I went to the local swimming baths, where they had a shallow section that I could actually stand up in. I persisted in trying to semi float and move for a short distance until it came easier with confidence. It may be unorthodox, but I managed to acquire a 10 length certificate that year.