Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Crappy day

Last nights lesson wasn't the best but it was because I hadn't been to the pool to practice and it showed. Also have mega sore shoulders from stress and its hard to relax them in the pool so that makes me swim really awkwardly.

Started off with breaststroke and really struggled with the breathing. Also felt like my arms and legs were all over the place. I tried to slow it down which helped but I can't get used to breathing in through my mouth without gulping loads of water and the back of my nose was burning with the chlorine.

Moved onto freestyle and tried with a float to get arms doing the right thing so I can breathe to the side, then trying one arm at a time but it was hard and I was swallowing half the pool!

Lastly, first time doing backstroke arms which I liked, although I still have that feeling of "where am I going?" I was under the rope at one point, but thats ok I can work on that.

Lots that need practice.

My colleague at work handed me a flyer for the Loch Lomond great swim event which is at the weekend, might be something to try next year. Can hardly do a couple of lengths never mind a loch but look what I have acheived since January so anything is possible!

PS - very weird but i've noticed I have a better lesson when the showers are cold....they were roasting last night!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Feeling Proud!

Just writing my blog with a really sore head as I thudded it off the headboard...ouch!

Great start to the day as my son excelled in his exam results and I cried all the way to work! Very proud mum.

Arrived at my lesson and met with a journalist who wanted to film me swimming a little bit to put on a website. So she went through to the pool and I went into the changing rooms.
I did my usual and sorted out the locker and went into a cubicle. Then I heard this voice talking away but no one was answering, it was really creepy. I got changed in superfast time. When I got out the cubicle there was a woman sitting stark naked on the bench talking away and saying how bad it was the Queen was dead?? I actually thought I maybe had missed something on the news but then she started on about OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson. Obviously just some mad wee woman (I do seem to attract these folk!).
I eventually got away from her and went through to the pool. I did a half breadth of breaststroke for the camera a few times and then the journalist left so the pressure was off there.
The pool was lovely and quiet today so I had a nice big lane to practice in. Did lots of breaststroke practising coming up for air every stroke. I tend to breathe in and out my nose but I should use my mouth so need to practice that.
Then lots of practice front crawl arms and taking a breath to the side. then did a length of front crawl then turning onto back, then turning back onto front which was good. Then a length of back float. also did a little bit of butterfly kick which was fun as I had never tried it before so I liked that.
Was a great lesson! Lots to improve on.
When I came out, I was relieved to see that the crazy woman was away. So I got changed and was just about heading out the door when this woman came out the showers and said she was watching me having lessons. I told her I had been coming since January and how great the lessons were. She said she could only swim with a woggle and that she wished she had the confidence to get lessons and said well done you, inspiring!
I walked out with a big smile on my face today :)

Swimming lessons in Glasgow

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Ouch my brain!

Eek tonight was a hard one!
As I sat in the car staring up at the blue mirror that is the Crowne Plaza hotel and wondering why its peeing down on the 2nd of August I felt quite confident about tonight's lesson. The nerves are gone completely!
I don't worry about falling under anymore....I can get back up easily.
I don't worry about swallowing water.....I just spit it back out (don't worry, not often).
I don't care what I look like....I kind of look like I know what I'm doing now.
I don't worry about drowning! 

So i'm feeling pretty great about the whole thing. I was a bit early so I had a chat with the teacher about our articles that were published by Scottish Swimming on their website. It was an interview I did a while ago so it was a bit out of date but I was really pleased with how it was written.

On with today's lesson. Started with kicking, with arms stretched out in front of me. That was fine and I did that two lengths. Then the teacher said to go a bit faster do smaller kicks so I did a couple of  lengths of that. all good just a bit out of puff.
Then we went on to freestyle arms. Much harder! I was to try and rotate side to side and take a breath but I struggled to get my arms to coordinate with my brain. Then I did an exercise where it was like I was pulling up a zip on the side of me which forced me to get my shoulders out the water. After this I was already shattered.
Next I did a couple of front to back and back to front rolls which were much better than last week.
Then onto breast stroke. I did two lengths the way I normally do it then I was to glide for a couple of seconds in between. I could not get my brain around this! I really need to practice as I was getting frustrated that I couldn't get it right.
Lastly I dived for a couple of sharks and then I tried a bit of swimming underwater, trying to get as low in the deep end as I could. This wasn't easy. I didn't really get anywhere but by this point I was absolutely puggled so I wasn't really giving it my all.

I need to build up stamina by practising lengths....Bring it on!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Busy lizzie

Last night's lesson was the busiest the pool has ever been!
I did breast stroke, front crawl, turns from front to back and back to front and lots of diving for sharks in the deep end. Was completely pooped at the end of it all.
I need to try go swimming on Friday as I want to practise swimming at deep end, out my depth. This is hard if I have kids with me but it needs done.
I'm going to have a look at some you tube videos to get some tips on arms for front crawl.
Short blog but more on Fri :)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Back to life, back to reality

I've been back from holidays for a few days now and the tan is starting to fade and the realisation that i'm back to real life is creeping in.
The last post was at the beginning of the holiday and I said how I had been swimming in the sea. I did lots more of that on holiday and really enjoyed it. There weren't much waves and it was lovely and refreshing in the blistering heat.
One of the main aims of me starting to learn to swim (as can be seen at the start of my blog) was to be able to get in the water with the kids and go on the slides.  Our hotel was attached to a water park which we ended up going to nearly every day as it was great fun and the pools were freshwater as opposed to the salt water pools at the hotel.
As promised I did go on a slide, in fact I went on twice and it was be honest it wasn't really for me. I'm a bit lazy and the whole climbing a million flights of stairs in bare feet while the ground is 100 degrees was no fun, but I did do it and I lived to tell the tale.
The lazy river was more my cup of tea.....floating round on a giant donut float with not a care in the world. Ok, this was not strictly true. Anyone who has been to Kos will know that its blows a hoolie there so when you first get in the lazy river you practically fly down the first side at a speed Lewis Hamilton would be jealous of, then when you get round the corner you end up frantically paddling with your arms to stop going backwards and crashing. Not so lazy after all, but you should see my guns now!
Anyway Olympic rowing aside, I spent a lot of time in the pool. It was 1.4m right across so I knew where I stood (quite literally) with the depth and I quite happily swam back and forward while my kids played around. I had taken my goggles to use but I hardly got to use them as my daughter decided she would start swimming underwater and that she needed them to be a mermaid...I couldn't really argue with that.
So I think I can tick the box for swimming on holiday....job done!
       Swimming in the pool! 

 Teaching Jess to swim underwater.
                       Looking for Dory 

Tonight was my lesson and it was weird being back in an inside pool again. I could definitely feel an improvement and I'm sure the teacher could tell too. My confidence levels are much higher but I still have a way to go with technique. I practiced mostly front crawl arms, trying to keep my head still and get my arms out the water as much as I could, sounds a lot easier than it is. Also did a couple of lengths of back float. I still get a bit disorientated doing this and end up going a bit squint, all adds to the fun!

Big decision that I made on holiday is that I want to work towards being a swimming teacher. I think its something that I could do and it gives me an end goal, even if its years away its a plan.

I love a challenge :)

Friday, 1 July 2016

Under the sea

Thought I would do a wee blog update while I'm on holiday in the very sunny and very hot Greek island of Kos.
So we have been going to the beach because the water is crystal clear and shallow for miles so very safe. It's so hot the water is like a blessed relief. The sand is like walking over hot coals so everyone does this mad dance to get in the water as quickly as possible.
In I got and I started swimming straight away! Then we realised there were wee fish under us so I've had the goggles on and been swimming under water looking at them. It's been awesome! Also cause it's saltwater it's lovely for just floating on your back and enjoying the light waves.
I'll take better photos next time but got one for proof.
Waterpark next....Can't wait!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Going the full length

Last night I went swimming with the kids and husband. We hadn't been for a while and it was a nice night so the pool was quiet apart from the swimming club taking up half the big pool.

We started off in the little pool to warm up literally (its always a bit warmer than the big pool). I wanted to practice doing rolling over in the water so it didn't matter that its a bit shallow. So I started on my back and rolled onto my front which was fairly easy and then from my front to my back which was more difficult as it was harder to find my balance. I went through them all and practised them over and over again until I found them easier. I think the kids liked practising with me, although they just do it naturally, they don't have to think about it.

Then we went into the big pool and I did some practice breaststroke and swimming on my back. There were some quite serious swimmers in there who put me off a bit, but I just got on with what I had to do.

So all in all was a fairly successful nights practise.

Tonight was my lesson. I was working from home today so I felt a bit fresher getting to the pool. It was going to be a hard night as the lesson usually tires me out anyway but then I had to go home and do 5 k running with my son! Anyway I got myself changed and took about an hour (slight exaggeration) to get the swimming cap on.

I had my usual chat with the teacher about whats going on and told her that I had been swimming last night and what I had done. She then said to start off with breaststroke and I told her that I had still been struggling with the breathing in between strokes.

And off I went.  I don't know what was different tonight but I swam three strokes underwater then came up for air and kept that up and the next thing I could see the wall coming towards me....I had done a full length!!! Its only a 15 m pool but that was a huge accomplishment for me. Definitely worth the high five with the teacher.

Next I did some front crawl which was much better than before and practised just kicking and breaststroke legs with the kick board. I showed her that I had been practising the different rolls and I managed them all and tried a mushroom one. I need to practice this one on holiday!

I dived for the sharks and the only one I couldn't manage was the last one but I got so close! It was up at the 1.4 m point so that's the furthest I've dived for them.

Lastly I did a full length of swimming on my back. Given that not long ago I was terrified of floating on my back this felt like a major achievement too.

It was definitely a defining lesson for me. I was driving home thinking about the last 5 months and how far I've come and for the first time ever I think I can safely say....I can swim!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


Post title is because tonight at the Hydro Barry Manilow was on!
So hadn't had a lesson for a few weeks and I was eager to get back on it. It was a really long day cause at the start I was dropping off my oldest son for a school trip to Geneva. Then a day of meetings at work so I was pretty shattered.
When I got to the pool it was quiet with just one other man in the pool apart from the lesson lane so I got in and did a bit of a warm up (cause the pool was cold). I did a mix of breaststroke, freestyle and backfloat.
Then when it was lesson time. I started with a couple of lengths of breaststroke. I tried to take a few breaths in between instead of standing up. I think I managed a few breaths which was good.
Then the teacher got me to do breaststroke legs with the float board and try to concentrate on putting my knees to the side and getting more propulsion with my legs.
Next, I did a couple of lengths of freestyle legs and arms which was good but really tiring and I practised trying to take a breath in between instead of stopping again. I seemed to stop and stand up by habit, so I need to practice that a bit more.
So, after a couple lengths of backfloat and bashing into the stairs. The teacher asked me how I felt about trying to float from back to front. I was up for the challenge....I really wanted to do it!
Starting off on my back, I turned my head and I sort of went to the side but it wasn't great. So I tried again, this time the teacher said try turning faster. This worked much better and after a couple more attempts I worked it out.  Again that is something I need to practice. After that I tried rolling from my back then forward and onto my front and that was great too.
Lastly diving for some sharks which I managed quite easily.
All in all a really great lesson, I need my bed!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Deep thoughts

Bit of a non swimming post today. No lessons this week as I was at Coldplay on Tuesday which was awesome!
Was interviewed by a lovely journalist today and she asked me some questions which really made me think. (Takes a lot these days believe me!)
One of the questions was what would I say to people who were wanting to learn to swim and didn't know how to go about it?
This was me at one point. I couldn't just turn up at a pool and start teaching myself because:
1. I wouldn't go near the pool let alone get in it.
2. Not being able to swim was embarrassing to me and I'm not the most self confident person at the best of times so that was a no goer.
3. If I went with the family I wouldn't want them to see me scared cause you teach your kids they can achieve anything they want so I would be a fraud.

I also looked into council run lessons at one point but they tend to be for groups or people who can swim and want to improve and also the idea of bumping into someone I knew while having a lesson...embarrassing...a no goer.

I googled lessons in Glasgow but it wasn't easy to find anything suitable. Either odd times or too far away. I considered a weeks residential course somewhere in England but don't think I would have done it.

So when I found the website it was ideal. The lessons are in the Crowne Plaza next to the hydro (other locations too) and they are on most evenings and weekends so times to suit everyone. Also, I knew I needed one to one lessons, probably more expensive but worth every penny to me.

I didn't really find out about swimming associations like @theasa and @scottishswim until I started swimming but these websites have lots of info for people wanting to learn and other countries will have similar organisations.
 Learning to swim is a massive initiative at the moment with #thisgirlcan and #makeyourmove  hoping to inspire people to get in the pool and even if you are just bobbing's a start!

Turn the clock back 25 years and what would I have done differently?  I would have taken the setback of what happened at school and turned it into a positive and started swimming then. I would have asked my friends to help me. I wouldn't have given a toss what I looked like in a swimsuit and got in there anyway and by now I would be an Olympic swimmer!

Ok, a bit far fetched but one thing for certain I would go back and push that PE teacher in the pool, fully clothed maybe wearing something heavy like a pair of steel toe capped boots and see how she enjoys the struggle!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Essential kit

I have had people asking me what I take with me in my swimming bag.
It's not that exciting but here we go!
Swimming costume.....obviously.  I have a new one which has the shorts style leg which I really like. It's a speedo monogram one and it fits really well.

My goggles, which are an absolute necessity for me. I've been through a few pairs as I've either lost them or they were rubbish cause they steam up too much. My current ones are called View and so far so good!. Nice and snug and don't let in water. I do have quite bad marks after but I don't really mind that.

I have a nose clip that lives in a wee case. To be honest I've never used it but it lives in my bag anyway.  It's a universal one and I got it in sainsburys.

My beloved swimming cap! I carried this about for 4 weeks before I got the courage to put it on. It looks a bit funny but I don't really care anymore. It makes swimming much easier and although it doesn't keep my hair totally dry, it's worth having on. Mines is a blue speedo one.

I also carry about a wee zoggs spray that helps defog your goggles. I don't need it at the moment but it's handy to have. I think I got it on eBay for about  £5.

I also have about 50 kirbys, a deodorant and a hairbrush in there. And my actual bag.. it's tiny. Cause I get a towel at the lesson I don't need a big bag. It's see through so I know if I'm missing anything!

So that's it, my swimming essentials 😀

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Practice makes perfect

Today I turned up for my lesson and found out my teacher wasn't going to be in so I decided to stay and get some practice in anyway.
The pool was so cooling after a blistering hot day spent at an away day with work in a conference room. This was also good for my sunburned shoulders!
So in I got with my swimming cap and new goggles and new speedo costume.
I did a few lengths of breast stroke and a few of front crawl. There was only two others in the pool but they were fast swimmers and causing waves which was really off putting but I kept going.
Lots of swimming on my back and front crawl arm practice, swimming under water and with face out water. Probably did equivalent of a lesson if not more.
By time I was finished I was shattered.....swimming makes me crave toast!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Smug swimmer alert!

Kids were off today and I'm working from home so decided to take my youngest swimming for an hour.We just went to the local pool again and were both decked out in new suits and goggles so we were looking pretty fab!

When we got there we started off in the little pool as there was an aqua aerobics class on which was good cause the music was great..old skool and I was singing along.

Today was one of the first times I've found the water a bit shallow in the little pool but I still got some practice in. A lot of backfloat, breastroke and also playing about with my 5 year old. The pool was fairly busy and I soon realised that I was the only mum. The other five were dads with their kids and the mums were at the viewing bit. This used to be me so I felt a bit smug...check me out swimming with my daughter! You wouldn't have caught me doing this a year ago and we had a great time.

After the class had finished we moved into the big pool which was nearly empty and we had a good swim in there before getting out.

Was a great trip. I'm so glad I went and got some practice in and also some special time with my little girl.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Double bubble

Honestly? I wasn't looking forward to tonight's lesson. All my positivity from last week had sapped away after an exhausting couple of days at work.
I arrived at the pool a bit hot and sweaty after cooking in the heat of the office and the car. So the thought of the cool pool was quite welcoming. 
After getting changed and poking all my hair into a swim cap I was ready to go.
The pool was busy with a group of lads playing in one corner, a couple of swimmers and a pair getting jiggy in the corner.
So my lane seemed narrower than normal but off I went.
Started with breast stroke. A couple lengths then trying with taking a breath. Didn't manage much so I defo need to practice. Then onto leg kicks with the board and without the board while trying to tilt to each side a bit.
Then the best bit. I managed a couple of lengths of back float and kicking my legs right to the deep and back again.
Lastly diving for sharks and managed to get them in deeper water than ever.
So a good lesson today 😁
Also mega disappointed that my hair was wet after wearing a swimming cap 🏊

Here is a pic of me with dry hair :) 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Weird week

Last week was all exciting with the radio show and after a great weekend I was a bit stressed out about a week of jury duty.
I haven't actually been swimming since  the little paddle about with my friends.
I ended up being selected for jury duty so it was a bit of a stressful day and I honestly wasn't feeling great when I turned up for my lesson.
Lesson started with a bit of a catch up on all that had been going on and I admitted that I hadn't had much practice so was feeling a bit nervous.
First I did a bit of diving for the sharks. Started ok but my god I was out of breath! Once we got to the deeper bit of the pool I was really struggling and started to feel sick. I hated that. I don't like making excuses, but I felt awful.
Then went into some kicking with the kickboard and then a bit of breaststroke. Also did a couple of tries of going from sitting at the edge to in the pool.
It was just an odd lesson full stop. I think the feeling rubbish didn't help and I really need to get back and practice at the local pool.
Next week will be fab!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Scary biscuits

Well I did my radio interview this was terrifying. I was led into a wee studio and put on some giant headphones and sat in front of a microphone. Then I could hear everything from the Aberdeen studio and a wee voice came on and told me I would be on in five mins.
When the presenter eventually introduced me I was so terrified that my mind would go blank but luckily the words flowed and I treated it like a telephone conference at work. Also was really great hearing advice from Tom the sports psychologist and the competitive side of swimming from Hannah Miley.
It was great to tell my story and hopefully someone will go learn to swim off the back of it.

Here it is at about 13 mins in

I have my lessons with Vivienne 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Radio gaga

Ok, so not a particularly swimming based post today but a milestone none the less! I was contacted by a lovely BBC person and asked if I would mind talking about my learning to swim journey as part of a programme on Radio Scotland called 'Out for the Weekend.' Its part of a BBC initiative called #makeyourmove to get people moving and this month it is about swimming.
I'm looking forward to it as I have never done anything like this before but also a bit nervous that I clam up and nothing comes out my mouth. Hopefully all will be good and I can get a photo of me with my headphones on at the BBC Glasgow studio to put on the blog.
It was a week off lessons this week as my teacher is on holiday so I haven't been, but planning on going at the weekend to get some practice in before next week.
Will post after the radio show....wish me luck!

Friday, 6 May 2016

A bit of deep reflection

Tuesdays lesson was fine again. I have been feeling that the lessons are becoming a bit samey (is that a word?)  I think I expect too much but in my head i've had a lot of lessons (17) and i'm still not properly swimming (i'm not sure how I define properly swimming!). My husband says its a consolidating stage so i'll trust him with that.

I had a bit of time before the teacher arrived and I was very aware that I was swimming up the side (where the training lane is ) but only to the stairs so always in shallow (ish) water. I'm still not happy in the deeper water but once the teacher arrives I just get on with it.

I did some freestyle legs so kicking and tried to remember to keep them straighter and together which seemed to go better than last week but once I try to add the arms in, the legs go to pot...i'm not good at concentrating on both things but i'm sure that will come at some point. I still have to stop when I run out of breath as I dont know how to breath in between strokes yet and I can't not put my legs down and take a breath. This is where I get frustrated. I can't complete a length without stopping a couple of times.

For the rest of the lesson I did a little bit of floating on my back, then turning in the water and floating on my front which I liked doing and a bit more diving for the little sharks (always my favourite bit). I'm getting better at going into deeper water to get the little sharks although its getting harder to get to the bottom. But again i'm always at the wall which is like a safety net.
So I think I felt a bit rubbish after that lesson, although usually I would have been swimming with the kids in between to the local pool and we hadn't been so that definitely made a difference.

So the other day my friends and I decided to go to a health club for a pamper evening and go to the sauna, steam and swimming. Im still a bit funny about swimming in front of friends cause i feel like they are waiting for a "tah da" moment.  Also not being used to the pool makes for a very different experience.

It turned out the pool was lovely with a glass roof and the sun was streaming in. It was 1.3 m all the way across which felt quite deep to me and that made me slightly uneasy but not enough to stop me going in. I was all prepared with my goggles too, cause being odd I can only swim with my head under water and not above, unlike everyone else!

My friends who can all swim like dolphins were quite happy to bob about in the water so we weren't swimming lengths anyway but I didn't feel happy away from the side and I definitely didnt feel as comfortable with the depth as I had hoped but I was still happy in the pool and it made a big difference to previous times when I would never have even got in.

I think this made me feel a bit disappointed that i'm not as far on as I had hoped but when my friend said to me that she thought it was great that I was learning to swim and how hard it is as an adult to do something new I decided it's not about how fast or slow i'm learning its just the fact that i'm doing it. I will get there in the end....I just dont know when the end will be. 

Maybe thats what keeps the journey interesting?

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Sweet Sixteen

Last nights lesson was number 16 and I definitely feel different when I go in now. I'm not worried about what's coming, I'm not scared of the water anymore although still not been out my depth but I think I can safely say I've got a handle on this swimming lark!

Last night I worked a lot on kicking trying to keep legs straight and together. My teacher videoed it so I could see what I was doing and it didn't look like what I thought I was doing so that helped.
Did a bit of back swimming/floating which is definitely better than it was and lots of diving for toys, much deeper than I ever have before. I managed to get all the toys!

A while ago I downloaded an ebook which really helped me changed the way I think about water. I also really like watching the videos on you tube. The book is called conquer your fear of swimming and I bought it from the miracle swimming website. It's really well written as a self help book and the writer really believes in her method which comes through.  I thoroughly recommend it.

Next steps are working on technique and stamina to be able to swim a length without panting for breath :)

Friday, 22 April 2016

Ole green eyes

Quick non swimming post. So my wee girl is in for swimming lessons. We go straight from school and it's a bit of a rush. Past few weeks have been school hols so we have gone with her but the pool shuts at 4 so it's not worth it today.
Anyway, the pool is deserted and only has two other people in apart from her and I'm actually aching to get in.
This time 3 months ago I would have felt sick at the thought of it. I used to feel panicked sitting in the safe area at the side and now I'm feeling jealous that I'm not in there! I also think the smell now induces excited feelings and not bad ones?
A weird post but it's a weird and amazing feeling!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The waiting game

So I'm here waiting to go in for my lesson...40 mins early. It's lovely so I can add some nice pics!
I did lots of practice Friday and Monday so hopefully it shows.
Back float is getting there and breathing is getting better.

So that lesson was fab. Working more on technique now. It's really hard when you can't see what your arms and legs are doing! Was able to float on back and kick legs better and also stayed up deep end more so that was good for confidence. 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Facing my nemesis - the backfloat!

After this weeks early lesson and being away with the family for a few days, I was keen to get in and practice the backfloat. My daughter has lessons at the local pool so its a good time for me to go and get some practice.

This is where i'm starting to realise I lucked out in all the years I didn't take part in the family swims....trying to get the kids ready.  Its a nightmare! My youngest two are particularly good at winding each other up and there is no better place than the changing rooms for a brother sister fight.

Todays weapon of choice for me was a personal favourite.....the good old threat of birthday cancellation and I have to say it worked a treat, at first. Then they argued over who got which changing room, who got which shower, who held the float, who held the diving otter stick and finally who got to race me first. Luckily the lesson started for my daughter and me and my son were left in peace.

Again the pool was quiet so I got plenty of practice in. I had a few shots at front crawl and then breastroke where I practised coming up for air. Then I knew I had to practice the backfloat. I asked my son to show me how he does it. He demonstrated that he kind of sticks his chest out, so I copied him. Then he said "sometimes I go under but I like it when that happens."

For some reason this stuck in my head. I thought about why it made me nervous and its the though of falling backwards and not being able to get back up. But, I can swim underwater and I can get myself up.

So I decided to practice first just landing on my bum under water and then standing up. Then I pushed my arms to help me get up. I did it so often I knew if I did fall under water it wouldnt bother me anymore. The lifeguards must have been wondering what I was doing!

Then I held onto the wall with one hand and I leaned back...I floated! and when it came to standing up, I wobbled a bit but I got back up. I did this again and again until I didn't need to hold on but by the time they rang the alarm to clear the pool I had mastered the backfloat!

I go for my fantastic swimming lessons in Glasgow with

Monday, 11 April 2016

Roasty toasty!

Thought I would add a quick blogpost while its fresh in my head.

I had a lesson tonight (Monday) instead of the usual Tuesday night lesson. It was weird going home first, it kind of messed with my head but I think that's a good thing.

The pool was really warm today, no complaints from me, but the teacher said it had been a struggle for others and that it had been warmer earlier. It was nice to get into though and my goggles didn't steam up today.....bonus.

Today I did much better at taking breaths while doing breaststroke. I think I was managing every second stroke.  I was really pleased with this because I can really feel it coming together.

I also did a bit of floating on my back, this time in the shallow end with the teacher behind me for support. I really need to practice this.  It still feels scary and I could feel myself tensing up, I just couldn't relax at all.

Did two lengths of front crawl which I think was better and fast, I'm feeling more confident doing this too. Once I get the back float sorted I think ill be able to learn the breathing for this....something to aim towards.

Finally, diving for the little sharks. Secretly my favourite part of the lesson. When I first started and I watched a wee girl doing this I thought ill never manage that and I can.....get this, even two at a time!

I'm getting there!

Great videos for technique here SpeedoInternational

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Getting up to date

So I think we can happily agree that I was off to a good start. The lessons were going well. I was floating on my front a bit more confidently. I had even attempted a bit of swimming underwater kicking my legs.

Something I did have trouble with was standing up after being horizontal in the water. Every time I stopped I would grab onto the side with my hand instead of just standing up using my core, legs and arms. The further into the deep water I moved the more I relied on holding onto the side, it was really frustrating.

My teacher was great though. She reassured me that it didn't matter if I felt I had to grab onto the side at first...I was moving through the water, albeit it slowly and eventually I would lose the need to hold on.

Soon we got to moving on to a new skill...the backfloat. Up at the deep end in the corner, I would hold on to the side, lean back and put my head in the water up to my ears. I didn't enjoy this. To me it felt out of control and that if I let go I would just fall back under the water and not be able to get back up.

I did a few while holding on, then I talked myself into letting go and it was fine, I floated, but then I lost balance and went under water. It was only a brief moment but it felt horrible. The water went up my nose and that familiar spluttering feeling was back and I didn't like it. I tried again but I didn't want to let go of the side.  I felt like this was going to be a real challenge to overcome.

I think this was the week I realised two things. I understood the learning curve. It doesn't go up and up. Some weeks are just to consolidate learning, some weeks go a bit backwards...but that's ok.

The other thing I realised was that learning a new skill as an adult is mentally exhausting and really, really hard.  I would watch what my teacher asked me to do, it looked simple. But when you are talking yourself through it in steps, thinking ahead remembering what to do and not to do....its almost harder than the physical activity itself.  Also the tendency to over think what I'm doing instead of just getting in there and doing it....that can be really annoying.

So we are almost up to where I am now....lesson 14.  I am able to do the breast stroke underwater and I'm just trying to master coming up for air (harder than it sounds!). I can do the front crawl but haven't quite mastered the arms yet.

The back float is still my nemesis.....tomorrow nights lesson might change all this, I'm thinking positive!

Swimming lessons in Glasgow

Friday, 8 April 2016

Great expectations

After the first lesson I had a lot of people to text who were all waiting with baited breath to see if I sank like a stone. I was overjoyed to tell them it was a great lesson and I couldn't wait for next week and at that point (the evening after the lesson), I couldn't.

But, as the week wore on, I started to dread it because I knew I was vested in this learning to swim process. I had paid up for a five lesson block and there was no going back.

I also knew that getting in the pool and putting my face in the water was a great start but I would eventually have to face the deep end and that's where my fear really was.

So, after a fairly uneventful week at work. I did the drive to the hotel again. A particularly nice drive over the Clyde via the squinty bridge and past the SSE Hydro. I always end up being a little bit early which gives the nerves more time to work on me.

In I went past reception, got my towel and locker key, got myself sorted and went through the pool door. This time there was someone else still finishing their lesson, so I sat at the shallow end of the pool and dangled my legs in.  It's a nice warm pool which somehow takes away a bit of the fear. Is fear cold?? I don't know if that's true but it made me feel better anyway.

Soon my teacher was finished with her previous student and made her way over to me. She asks me how my week was, what's been happening and how I'm feeling and I like to be honest so I said I felt more nervous than last week...which was true.

So we started off repeating what we had done the previous lesson. It almost felt like I was starting again. I seemed to have forgotten what I had done last week and the confidence I had gained from the before had gone and I felt the feeling of doom setting in again.

It didn't take long though and I got back to where I was, sticking my head under and blowing out the bubbles. Then we did a bit of floating on my front while I held the teachers hands and in the end I let go. That felt amazing, I could float! Something I completely doubted in my head was actually possible.

Again the lesson ended with a high five and again I headed for the showers with that mini fist pump feeling!

I realised after the second lesson that half an hour in the pool per week wasn't enough and that I would have to practise in between lessons.

I have never been swimming with my family. I have four kids between 5 and 16 and in all those 16 years we have never been swimming together. This is my husbands domain, I'm not part of it at all. So when I announced we were going to go swimming, the kids were happy that I was coming too.

We went to the local pool which is pretty basic. A training pool and a larger 25m pool. No fancy slides or wave machines.....a basic council pool.  The kind I used to hate.

The first thing I noticed when I got in was the stronger smell of chlorine, the smell hit me like a brick. It was also a lot colder than the hotel pool but I expected this so in we went. Luckily, having a 5 year old with me seemed to make it ok to go into the training pool. I think if I had went on my own I would have felt a fraud going in there....all in my head, but its a bit screwed up in there and that's how I think.

This pool has shallow stairs that go in and the maximum depth is 0.9 m. We got in and I naturally gravitated to the side. I felt like my family were looking at me waiting for my party trick, like I was going to swim from one side to the other...that I was cured!

But, no anything I had learned at the lesson in the nice hotel pool didn't seem to transfer to other pools. It all felt so foreign and different and not in a good way. I attempted a bit of a float while holding onto the wall and stuck my head under water a little but mostly I just bobbed about and watched the others. It was a bit of a disappointment.

When we got in the car my son said how nice it was to have me there. I don't think they really noticed what I was doing they were too busy playing. It was enough for him to just have me there. That cheered me up and we decided the following weekend we would go to another pool. This time more of a fun pool and by that time I would have had another lesson and would be more confident.

I also needed a new swimsuit. The 1920's granny look was not cutting it any more.

It was time to get serious......

 love speedo swimsuits and goggles :)

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Lesson one

So I started lessons and after a few weeks my fear was gone and I could swim...hallelujah!

Erm.... no, that's not quite how it went.

After the lesson was booked and I couldn't back out (and I realised I didn't want to), I had to do a late night dash to buy a swimsuit. As it was just after Christmas, Sainsburys didn't have their summer range in yet so I ended up with one that wouldn't have looked out of place on a beach in the 1920s!

So I was all ready. I just had to get through one day at work then I would go straight to the swimming lesson. I wouldn't have much time to think about it which suited me fine. I did a couple of google searches on the hotel so I could see what to expect from the pool before I got there. It looked nice and not as scary as public pools so I felt a bit better but the nerves were still there.

I walked up to the recreation area of the hotel and told the guy behind the desk I was here for a swimming lesson. He handed me a locker key and a towel and pointed me in the right direction of the changing rooms.

This reminded me of another reason I dont like swimming...the changing rooms. As this was a hotel it was a bit more pleasant. But still wet floors, hair on the floor and I could smell the chlorine from the pool. As I was getting ready I could hear the door to the pool opening and closing and the echo noises of voices coming through.

I pushed the nervous feelings away, got myself ready and headed for the pool.

I didn't know who to expect. A man, a woman, young or old so I hoped they would stand out as a teacher. Luckily it was very obvious as a young woman was sitting on a bench at the side of the pool and she seemed to be waiting for me. She was really friendly and put me at ease straight away.

She asked me how I felt about getting in the pool and to be honest I didn't want to come across as a complete wreck so I said fine and we got in. This lesson was for her to see what sort of stage I was at and to come up with a plan of action.

We started off by walking up the side of the pool from the shallow end just holding on to the side. This seemed easy enough but as we got deeper I started to feel uncomfortable but that was fine and we just walked back. Then she got me to put my shoulders under water and walk up and down the pool. Next I put my chin in and up and down we went a few times. It was repetitive but I could feel myself getting more comfortable in the water. The last exercise was putting my face in and blowing bubbles out through my felt strange at first but the more I walked up and down the poolside it became easier and lastly I put my whole face under and held my breath for a good few seconds.

I couldn't believe in half an hour I was already sticking my face under water! I got a high five from my teacher and climbed out the pool feeling exhilarated. Suddenly that feeling of never being able to swim was disappearing and a new world of opportunity was opening up.

I got into the shower, pressed the button and hoped it was hot.....and then I gave a little squeal of joy!

Swimming lessons in Glasgow
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Taking the plunge

Irony plays a big part in my quest to be water confident.

Firstly, I am a Pisces, a water sign, symbolized by fish….surely this means I should be a natural swimmer? You would think!

I worked for 3 years as a receptionist at a leisure centre. I would talk nervous people into going for swimming lessons telling them “do it now or you never will.” I should have practised what I preached. I distinctly remember a training session poolside where I was physically shaking at the thought of falling in the pool, but having to act like I was as comfortable as Rebecca Adlington. I doubt anyone ever guessed I could have been sick in the pool with the smell!

Thirdly, I work for Scottish Water…..need I say more?

So, I had decided something had to be done. After the holiday in Marbella I made a pact that I was going to find swimming lessons. But, this wasn’t the first time I had decided on this and usually after a fruitless search would give up and again resign myself to being a non swimmer.

Something changed at New Year. We booked a holiday and I was excitedly telling the kids about how it was next to a water park. My little girl asked me if I would come down the slide with her and instead of making an excuse I said yes I absolutely will. I wanted to be part of this holiday, fully not watching from the sidelines. I also wanted the photos to prove it!

I knew I couldn’t take the chance that I would go back on my word and hope she would forget so on a night out for dinner with my sister and best friend I told them I was going to learn to swim. They were both really supportive as usual and I looked forward to sharing the experience with them. So by telling them I had to start the search for lessons. I wanted them to know I was serious.

During my lunchbreak at work the next day, I did a quick search. I wanted lessons that were tailored to nervous swimmers and I needed it to be a 1-1. Lots of adult lessons came up but they were in places I didn’t know or couldn’t get to, they were for people who weren’t scared of water, just wanting to improve there technique. This was not what I was looking for.

Then I found a website called Swimming Masters. It said they had a unique and proven way to learn to swim. It looked welcoming compared to other websites. So, I typed out an email before I could change my mind, secretly hoping no one would reply and I would have an excuse….can’t say I didn’t try.

A response did come back. Almost straight away I was asked what time would suit me and that a Tuesday evening was free at 5.30pm. It was Monday…I could start the next day. I replied speedily before I lost my nerve. Feeling empowered I replied “Great, I would love to start tomorrow and I look forward to seeing you.”

…….and then I clicked send.

I go for my swimming lessons with Vivienne at

How I became a non-swimmer

I wanted to write this blog as so many people have been so lovely and supportive about a topic I thought would be really embarrassing and has haunted me my entire life.

I figured if I wrote this blog and one other person read it and found some help, then it was a job well done…so here goes.

I have been for pretty much for all of my 39 years a non swimmer. No, hold that thought that makes me sound like someone who just doesn’t swim, cause they do not want to. Like choosing to be a non smoker, non drinker……it is not like that at all.

I am petrified of water or more correctly swimming pools. The smell of chlorine, the coldness, the feeling of it in your hair, on your skin, up your nose. Sharing a bath with people i don’t know and quite frankly don’t want to be near naked with. The echo noise, the tiles, the smell, the smell, THE SMELL!

It can’t have always been like this. I know I acquired this fear somewhere along the way. Apparently I was chucked in the deep end as a 2 year old by my well meaning granny as this was the best way to teach children to swim. I don’t remember this but it didn’t work….I cant swim.

What I do remember is that in first year of high school, a particularly vicious PE teacher lined us all up in order of height along the side of the swimming pool and told us to jump in and swim across. Me, being 5’7″ from the age of 11 and one of the taller members of the class (boys and girls) was faced with a slog across the deep end. I knew it wouldn’t end well but I remember thinking surely if I just get in and thrash across ill be fine…so in I jumped.

It didn’t end well I ended up trapped on the bottom of the pool and the lovely teacher sent in the best looking boy in the class to rescue me while I coughed, spluttered and snottered my way to the side of the pool as she commented “this is why we learn to swim.”

From that moment I have come up with every excuse under the sun to get out of swimming. I was blessed with excema which got me out of any further school lessons. When my group of friends all started going to the Paisley Lagoon on a Friday night, I found new friends so I didn’t have to go (fairly extreme but it worked!). I managed to have weekend jobs by the time my husband was taking the kids so I always got out of it. It has been 30 years of being devious and clever but not fun.
I always felt like I was missing out. I desperately wanted to go to the lagoon with friends but there was no way I could put myself through that. I wanted to go on family swims when the kids were babies but what if they picked up my fear, I could never forgive myself for that. So it was easy. I just didn’t go. I was a non-swimmer, always would be and that was that.

So, what changed then? Well for the last few years we have had family holidays abroad. Nice hot places with nice pools. You have probably seen the photos on Facebook. Lots of lovely pictures of my kids and my husband in the pool. Lots of pictures taken by me, the official holiday photographer who has no photos taken of her in the pool cause she hardly got in it. Then on a girls holiday in Marbella it was blistering hot and my two friends got into the lovely, cool pool and swam away. I just felt a complete rush of jealousy. I wanted to get in swim across, swim under, float on my back, on my front….be cool. What was stopping me?

I had watched the Paralympics. blind people, athletes with one arm, one leg, no arms… they could swim. There was absolutely no medical reason why I couldn’t swim.

I had finally had enough of being a non-swimmer….something had to be done!

speedo goggles are the best!