Fourth Grade English Writing Assignment: Swimming

Sept. 14, 1989
Grade 4

Debbie Goddard

It was really hard for me to learn how to swim. Some people are born swimmers. I wasn’t. I sank like a rock.
Once I slipped and fell and hit my head. It was very tireing. The next day I couldn’t sink!

(See a previous post for background on these.)

This is kind of true. I never learned how to swim when I was a kid, and I still can’t swim well. There wasn’t a community pool in my Philadelphia neighborhood, and there were no relatives in the ‘burbs with a pool. We had access to the motel’s pool when we lived in Kansas in the summer and visited the pool at McGuire Air Force Base in NJ a few times, but that was it.

I used to jump up and splash around in the pool at McGuire, pretending I was swimming, but I was afraid to put my head under the water. Once, though, I slipped while jumping, and I ended up banging the bottom of the pool hard. I was stunned for a moment and didn’t move, but then I slowly, slowly floated up to the surface. It was a revelation to me—that without doing anything at all, I wouldn’t drown, I’d float! This changed my whole pool experience. I soon realized I’m damn good at floating. I think I’m relatively buoyant because I’m so fat.

On the other hand, the physics of moving one’s body through the water with any sort of ease or efficiency…not so good at that. When I’m swimming at the gym I eventually travel from one side of the pool to the other, but it’s so obvious that I’m poor at it that lifeguards keep an eye on me to make sure I’m not drowning. (Sometimes I’m tempted to tell them that I’m recovering from a shoulder injury or something so they stop thinking I suck.) Additionally, the mechanics of freestyle are a mystery to me. Kicking, moving both arms, turning one’s head, and breathing, all at once? I can get three of those going at a time, but not all four.

Maybe I should resolve to practice swimming this year? Okay! It’s a good day for it.

New Year’s Resolution: Practice swimming at least once a month. Bam.

One thought on “Fourth Grade English Writing Assignment: Swimming

  1. Your li’l-self essays make me smile. We want pics! We want pics! I heard somewhere that you were a “bald-ass kid.”

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