Yes it seems so! Swimming isn’t simply any other sport. One can be economic and see this as an usual form of exercising, or else one can praise it as the best exercise or sport for our body. But it just doesn’t cease there. I started learning to swim almost in the beginning of summer 2002. But somehow I couldn’t follow it for more than a week or two. It is only after Jan 2011 that I could resume it back. So, although I had a prior exposure, I had to start all the way again. And after spending months in the pool I realize that swimming isn’t simply a sport, rather its altogether a different paradigm of human experience.
As soon as one enters into a pool and tries to swim, the liberty of breathing in the air vanishes. One had to acknowledge the relevance of air which she had always taken for granted and then enter into a different space. A space where one has to deploy strategies to have her cup of oxygen. Its is fairly a difficult lesson. Alongside one also gets the idea that there is a different medium to move in. To befriend a stranger one has to first take all the fears out associated with the stranger, similarly one has to befriend the water first. Even to practice a push against the wall, one is required to take her head below the water surface. Unless one comes with the psyche that she is going to befriend the water and that there isn’t going to be any harm, it would be difficult for her to do so. It is only after this friendship between oneself and water that she can learn further. Then there starts endless efforts to master the posture, and rehearse the strokes. A constant fine tuning with an awareness of one’s own action are the only instruments here. This is a fine learning too. One learns not only her limits but also the idea of ‘watch the self’. It is only after practicing again and again can one get the rhythm and pattern of body movement while breathing in and breathing out. I see a lot of people around doing all kind of stuff in water and earlier I used to gaze in awe. But now I, kind of, can reason it out. They haven’t learn swimming. What they know is to overcome their fears, and embrace a different medium. And as you can have a good time amongst your friends so can happen in water too once you befriend it. I see lifeguards raising ‘timeout alarms’ everyday to get people out of the pool 🙂