When was the last time you jumped into the sea and let it wash away “dear employer”, “favourite mother-in-law” or “chatty friend”? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you throw them overboard, but don’t tell me you ’ve never experienced that feeling of refreshment and satisfaction as you jumped into the big blue?
On a beach in Ireland 2505 women ran naked into the sea. According to the Guinness World Record, on the 9th of June 2018, they smashed the old record in skinny dipping.
DOG PADDLE VS BUTTERFLY
I still remember a scene my mum often reminds me of when she secretly watched me while I was still in elementary school. I was swimming the dog paddle technique in the sea passing by a quay where two guys were standing.
When I looked at them they were laughing at me and imitating my movements with their hands in the water like a dog with its tongue sticking out. After that, I started swimming butterfly and left them to keep mocking me.
Great swimmers, sea lovers and sea-activities enthusiasts, my parents taught me
how to swim long before I started going to school. When they enrolled me in elementary school, they also enrolled me in a swimming school.
They wanted me to learn all the strokes properly. Today, I can say it was one of the best decisions they ever made, excluding the one when they decided to have my sister and me.
That feeling of slippery pool tiles underneath my feet, the smell of chlorine in the air and rough water are lasting memories of my first day at the pool. I was waiting for my turn to be tested as a swimmer.
We were supposed to swim a 25-meter lap and get from one end to the other in any way we could so they could sort us into groups based on age and swimming skills.
We were swimming next to the edge of the pool. The trainer was walking just outside the pool, along the lane as we swam. He had with him a long stick which had some kind of linen fabric tightened to the end of it. It was for extra insurance in case somebody found it too difficult to swim across the entire length. It looked as though he was fishing and we were the fish.
I was so excited I could hardly wait for my turn.
Before I jumped into the pool I had bragged about being a really good swimmer, so they let me jump in head-first. Next day I saw my name on a list that was on the pool’s notice board. Words can’t capture a seven-year old’s euphoria while enthusiastically waited for her first swimming lesson.
The training taught me discipline. Before each training, I packed my own backpack.
The basics were a swimsuit, goggles and swim cap. At first, the rubber swim cap gave me problems because while I was putting it on it pulled my hair out.
The problem was solved by my mum. She suggested I put baby powder on the inside of the cap, the same kind she was using for my baby sister.
Before going into the pool it was obligatory to take a shower, otherwise, we weren’t allowed to enter. It created a healthy hygienic habit which should be rooted in each visitor’s head, regardless whether they are recreational or professional swimmers.
I made new friends during my swimming lessons. Back in the days when we didn’t have mobile phones, or social media the only way to stay in touch was by going to the lessons regularly three times a week. Boys and girls, we were all in the same group and were able to, more or less, successfully manage the infinite number of exercises that our trainers made us do.
For instance, there were breathing exercises, special exercises for the arms and different ones for the legs with the help of a buoy and other swimming props.
I was especially thrilled when we were practising the jumps head-first, spinning and diving in the water, which made the lessons more interesting.
Besides the Olympic pool - 50 meters long and 25 meters wide, we also used a “small pool” that is usually used to train non-swimmers.
It is a lot smaller than the Olympic pool, it’s shallow and the temperature is a few degrees higher so we used it for warming up. In the small pool, the trainer showed each one of us the proper swimming moves for the hands and legs and corrected our mistakes.
In the five years, I spent training, followed by occasional shouts of the trainer during intense exercises, such as: “don’t pull the swimming lane!”, I learned 4 basic swimming strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.
Swimming became my way of life. It has given me the opportunity to use it as a recreational activity throughout the year and with it to maintain my health and stay in shape.
I’ve passed my knowledge and skills to my sister. By slowly applying all the strokes I picked up in swimming school I taught her how to breathe properly, stay on the surface, dive and the right way to swim all the strokes, including the hardest one - butterfly.
Like me, she also fell in love with swimming, with the sea and later with a plush fish toy called Nemo just like the one from the movie “Finding Nemo”, that until this day is still on her bed.
SEA OR SOMEWHERE ELSE
For me, there is no better feeling than to sail out on a hot summer’s day and dive into the big blue sea. To swim butterfly with flippers or freestyle which is my favourite style because it’s rhythmical and fast.
I grew up by the sea in Croatia, and my parents passed their love for the sea to me and it has always been my first choice.
And what about you, where do you like to go skinny dipping?
Authored by @lucy7
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