Surfing in Hawaii at White Beach on the island of Oahu with my brother.  

Surfing in Hawaii at White Beach on the island of Oahu with my brother.  

 

At 18 I could barely make it to the other side of a pool. "Mexicans wear jeans at the beach, they don`t swim" "Black people don`t swim" "I don`t swim, I`m Black" "Tall and slender body types are made for swimming" Those are the generalizations I heard since my youth. The reality: I have shoulders that ache every morning and knees that remind me everyday to take it easy. So why now learn to swim? Well, for starters, these are the joys I've found to endear and things I have learned from starting the process of learning (not in any particular order): 

Holding my breath under water is a fun challenge

Photo by David Shoup

Photo by David Shoup

Underwater Exploration

Photo by Jeremy Blanco

Photo by Jeremy Blanco

Catching Waves

Swim with Friends



Now let us take it one step further...

the challenge:

swim 4km...2.5 miles

 

7:00 a.m. 

I move slow...but I move...

I breath fast, the heart beats faster...

I slow my breath, the heart then calms...

The current stirs, the clouds roll over, the open lake awakens...

Breath

Breath J, breath

Remember: The Native Americans proved to the world freestyle was the way to go

So Go! 

... The fear is replaced with blue ...

A blue beyond the blues

A blue of blues

What lies beneath in this 800ft deep lake made by a volcano?

Lake grass touches my feet

No other swimmer or boat in sight

One folk sits on a lakeside boulder

Two folk await my finish

Inspire me Shikotsuko

Inspire me...

 

If there were truly more to write I would...but I am an amateur inspired to swim...I can share with you my inspiration but get your technique from someone who really knows how to swim : ) All I know is this...

When I began to learn to swim I could not. I would hug the wall, would rely on floaties, would hang onto my dad, would call for him to rescue me multiple times...as an adult I decided to truly learn and dedicate myself to it...and now damn near every time I get out of the water, this is how I feel and hope to feel every time hereafter...

My friend Ben Lee jumping out of the same lake I would make my longest swim in, Lake Shikotsuko of Hokkaido, Japan. 

Welcome to the culture of swimming!



Here are some videos/articles that I've watched/read online over and over again for the past 7 years. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HLW2AI1Ink

https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_ferriss_smash_fear_learn_anything

http://rsc03.net/Swimming.html


The above were tiny bits of motivation again to help get me started on learning to swim.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Why swimming?

To overcome a fear of swimming for starters...

A fear of what?

When I was 4 years old my brothers and cousins took a swim class together at the local community pool in Wilmington, California. I hadn't the slightest natural talent at swimming but I sure could hold on to the wall and 'survive', no problems there. I guess it was the idea of drowning.

Drowning, really?

I was about 6 years old in Phoenix, Arizona when my family and another fun set of cousins went to a family pool and decided we didn't need any flotation devices aka 'floaties'.

Long story short...my Nurse Father had to jump in the pool and "save" me after I could barely stick my hand above the water line to be seen. 

Later in life I thought I'd ride an inner tube. I was 7 this time. We were camping with again another set of cousins along the American River. It only took about 5 minutes before my cousins left me (the youngest of the bunch) behind in the dust. I felt alone, rocks were hitting my butt, and I started crying. Some folks hanging out along the river had to pull me out to the river side. 

The trend did not continue. I stopped swimming. I just stuck to the 3 major American sports: Football, Baseball, and Basketball and did well in those.

So why return to swimming? 

My shoulders began to ache from football and baseball. It was evidently clear how well some swimmers at my high school were able to move their shoulders and it seemed like their lung capacities were out of this world. The idea of what I could gain from swimming made me second guess my toddler instincts. 


Special Thanks to my girlfriend Tomomi for helping me drive out to Shikotsuko, a fantastic lake, and her daughter Ako for taking the time to learn to swim and provide some games for us at swimming practice. Also to Emi Chan's family and Makoto for taking me out to Matsumae Peninsula and giving me some snorkeling gear to go exploring and helping respark my interest in swimming in general. Noel, my brother, for bringing along on your surf adventures out in the Pacific Ocean. Mark and Ben Dillinger, for showing me a few tips about swimming technique. Also a shot out to Shoup, Paula, Alma for swimming with me out in Lake Toya a few years back, that was my first lake swim actually.  




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