Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not everyone can swim like Michael Phelps

This was my first semester at Cortland. I participated in seven different classes here, and they all were challenging in their own way. However, one of these classes was very challenging to me this semester. I can guess what you're thinking, that's it's Anatomy, or BioMechanics, or a 400 level class. No it wasn't, it was actually a one credit class. It was Aquatics.

Before this semester, I had very little experience that involved swimming. I go to the pool, or beach, or waterparks in the summer, but didn't really swim. Those were more social events, or events that involved my camp. When I got into Aquatics, I learned that this wasn't going to be an easy class. My swimming strokes were awful going in, and they may not still be that good. However, I noticed myself that I improved. It took a lot of practice, but I was able to swim at a proficient level.

One of the requirements is to swim 500 meters. I didn't think at first this would be a problem for me. I am a former cross country runner, and during the hot days of summer I would run 8-10 miles a day, five times a week. I was wrong. I would become tired after the 100 meter mark. While my time may not have been the greatest, I learned workouts in class that I can use. My muscles and body won't like it, but these workouts can help keep me physically fit.

The most challenging part of this course was the diving. I never knew how to dive before this class. I always tried to learn, but could never figure it out. I practiced this a lot for two reasons. The first is because it's an exit competency. It's required. The second being that if I didn't learn and do it now, then what would I do in the future? I told myself I had to learn because if I don't, then when I am a teacher someday, I will be a hypocrite to my students. I was able to perform a dive off the diving board using a three step hurdle approach. I got over the mental fear of a backdive and performed it. After I performed those two, the mental block was gone. I performed a basic dive off the platform, and actually received a high score on it.

Fear is something that all of us have. Whether we choose to admit it or not, it's true. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them. The picture above is of me at the old swimming pool I used to work at when I was in high school. I was trying to perform a front flip, but couldn't do that either. That's the next thing to learn.

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