Swim Calm students, both prospective and enrolled students pose some very interesting questions. Among the most common is “Do you really understand what I’m going through? How can you understand what I feel and that every tiny new act is a win for me?”
After years of teaching SwimCalm, I have a good understanding of my students’ needs. They require detail, they require patience and time. It was not until being put back at 0% myself and having to build on it, very carefully and by micro steps, that I had my “Ah-ha” moment.
My world changed on January 17 when I had rotator cuff surgery for a large and serious injury to my left shoulder. It was certainly caused in large part by many years in the water but had gone undetected for a long period of time as it worsened. Just like an adult, fearful of the water and knowing deep down that it was very wise and beneficial to learn how to swim, my shoulder was not behaving normally. In my heart of hearts, I knew that I had to seek a higher level of treatment and diagnose the problem once and for all.
That treatment involved a major surgery to repair three badly torn tendons.
The absolute dread of making arrangements for surgery and not knowing what would happen to me correlates closely to what a student goes through in signing up, paying for a class and showing up. It is terrifying. We want to be there but it’s the last place we want to be because of the unknown.
I have to laugh and notate the obvious difference; my students walk out of the first class generally ecstatic and knowing that things will be OK. By no means did I leave an ambulatory surgical unit with that same optimism. I was very quiet, but resigned, down and not knowing what the future would hold.
In these weeks following surgery, I can make many comparisons and a few differences. I’m very grateful that my students do not have to endure any physical pain although I can appreciate that sinus burn when someone tries to be a fish and inadvertently takes a little water in. We try very hard not to do that!
It has been pure pleasure for many years to watch a student reach the most basic of milestones. These tiny triumphs at each class give a student the motivation to keep going which leads to bigger skills and higher levels of success. It all grows on itself.
My circumstances have been strikingly similar. I would have never believed that I could not make a fist for the first 36 hours following surgery. Who would have believed that the slightest movement of my arm for the first three or four days would be excruciating and showers were almost out of the question because it involved moving my arm one inch? All of this coming from an English Channel swimmer?
Each small daily triumph meant the world to me and meant the curve was going upwards. While I feel that I understood before when a student tells me that he or she successfully blew bubbles out of a nose underwater, and is joyous at the accomplished, it resonates in a new and better way. I can relate. These tiny details, be recovery from the surgery or within a class setting indicate progress and no one can dictate our individual piece of progress.
This is the beauty of a SwimCalm course.
The small details, the small triumphs, and the large triumphs are what makes this course so special. Having an instructor with a renewed appreciation of what you, the student, are dealing with is a wonderful bonus.
Come see us. Come take a course. It won’t hurt and like many before you will bring you great joy and skills never dreamed possible.