As a former competitive swimmer, swimming instructor and lifeguard, I know how to do all the swimming strokes, plus some synchronized swimming moves and diving—off the diving board, that is.
As time marched on, I’ve had to contend with that monster – the ego. I know it’s surfaced when I catch myself saying things like “I could dive before,” or “I was able to do a half-decent butterfly stroke,” or “They must think I can’t swim very well.”
By being able to recognize that strident voice, I am able to redirect it; it’s now softer, kinder and more compassionate. It’s led me to acceptance. It’s rewarding myself for what I can still do, even with arms, legs and a neck that don’t work the way they once did.
The breast stroke is definitely off the “Lengths List” because of the torque that occurs when doing the Whip Kick. The front crawl is a sometimes stroke – at times, bilateral breathing is challenging on my fused neck. The back stroke is pretty easy to do, as is the sidestroke.
When swimming, or doing any exercise, listen to what your body tells you. Sometimes, your brain may be nagging you to quit, when there is no reason for it. Other times, your ego may push you further than is wise and you pay the price. One of our lessons is to learn to decipher the difference.