Mel, the pool minder, had seen enough. She’d been watching my sister and I flailing away during adult lap swim without commenting much, but finally a week or so ago she emerged from her office with a pair of flippers.
“Try these,” she said.
At first I hated them. They felt like they were going to slip off when I kicked, and I wasn’t making any more headway pushing my kickboard than I had been before. If anything, it seemed like I was going sideways more than straight ahead.
Traci, of course, nailed the concept right away and started zooming up and down the pool like a speedboat. But I kept at it, fruitless at it seemed.
It finally clicked during my third session. Somehow without really thinking about it I released my shins and let my feet and ankles do most of the work. Instead of thinking about all the moving parts involved, it suddenly felt like my feet and legs were cogs in a smoothly operating system. I wish I could explain it better, but all I can really say is: Wow, what a difference!
Those sessions with the flippers somehow spoke to my lower body in a way that mere words could not. And the best part is that my legs seem to know what to do now whether or not I’ve got the flippers on.
I still suck as a swimmer. I think way too much and resist exhaling in the water and just generally make way too much of a ruckus. But any time I make any progress at all in the pool, it’s incredibly encouraging.