Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

LadyXsize introduces the Swim London 2016 project

Radio and TV presenter, LadyXsize has started her 12-week swimming journey with the Swim London 2016 project. Here LadyXsize explains what it was like to take her first steps in the water…

After the euphoria of the previous evening with Swim Dem Crew picking up an award at the BEDSAs (British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards), I woke up for my first morning of Swim London 2016. Apprehension didn’t cover it!

Click here to find out more about the Swim London 2016 project.

While I can do all of the fitness things that you can think of, the one thing I really struggle to do is swim.

It had been a restless night and I could feel a sore throat coming on. “Maybe I won’t be well enough to swim,” I thought. Yeah right – no such luck!

Swim London 2016

The first hour of the Swim London 2016 day was a meet and greet and it was lovely to feel part of a gang, all as petrified as each other. Then it was time for the water. Aaahhhhhh!

Finding the pound for the locker was proving to be time consuming. To be honest I was glad, it was quite a good delaying tactic, the less time spent in the water, the better I thought. Eventually a very, very nice man gave me a pound. I have vowed that this would be the pound I would use each week for luck.

Now poolside, I was one of the first to get in the water. As I was using every delaying tactic known to man to avoid getting in, I spent quite some time in the shower before I got in the pool. However, there is only so long you can do this for.

Once away from the warm shower, it felt quite cold poolside. I hate being cold, more than I hated swimming, and I knew that if I got into the water whilst wet, it would probably feel warm. So without a second thought I got in. It was actually really warm. It felt glorious!

I was using every delaying tactic known to man – I spent quite some time in the shower before I got in the pool!

There were quite a few others who were not prepared to get in the water and some with a real fear of water. But as we were all suffering a similar plight united by one fear, we managed to coerce each other into the pool. I advised them to have a shower first so they felt warm when they got in. Plus the water was never deeper than chest height; so we could all safely touch the bottom.

I met a wonderful group of individuals and it was fun! First we learned to put our heads in the water. It sounds silly if you can swim, but it’s was a real fear for many of us.

I just hated getting my hair wet, but others faced bigger issues. But once again, as we were all in it together, eventually we somehow all went along with it, even opening our eyes in the water.

Learning To Float

Next it was learning to float. I couldn’t work out why, when using a float, I would eventually start to sink. It was at this point that Harley [Hicks], the ever-patient swimming coach, pointed out that my hips were too low in the water. This simple bit of advice made all the difference.

We then moved on to putting our heads in the water and floating, again with the aid of a float. My new buddy Dolly had a fear of putting her face in the water, but soon that fear was gone.

By the end of this Swim London 2016 session, most of us did not want to get out of the pool. We felt empowered that this swimming thing, which had evaded us for so many years, was now within our grasp.

I stayed on to show Harley the four front crawl strokes I can do before sinking. Apparently I have a nice stroke, but sadly only four of them, which clearly won’t get me far. I asked if he could show me how to do this. He promised he would.

I eventually left the pool with an enjoyment I never thought I would have for swimming. I actually cannot wait to learn how I can do more than just four front crawl strokes!

I want to be like the people on the other side of the lane rope. They make it look so easy…