Adam so tugged on the imagination of Bowsprite with his April 22 Robin Knox-Johnson Day that we decided to plan a Swim Day. (I HAD to get “tug” into this post somehow.) July 1 got the honors as Swim Day because, other than being peak summer in the northern hemisphere, the month gets its name from someone known for his swimming prowess. Click here to find more about swimming, Julius Caesar, Plato, King Xerxes, and others. Here’s more interesting history and a foto of ancient Etruscan swimmers.
The weird foto below shows tugster about 45 years ago getting it wrong and about to learn the searing, stinging pain water can inflict if you attempt to fly over rather than dive into it. Kind of like Icarus. The location is the pier near where I learned to swim . . . Lake Ontario.
We are our own first boats. Thanks to my mother, I flourished as my own vessel before I was born, but I forgot how to swim after that. I almost drowned when I was three because someone twice my size shoved me off a bridge. My father dove in, wearing Sunday best, to drag me ashore. When I turned six, my parents enrolled me in Red Cross swimming lessons in Lake Ontario, but I failed the beginner class three years in a row, refusing to believe even the no-doubt beautiful high school girls instructing the classes, telling me to relax, breathe deliberately, and feel my own buoyancy. If we are our own first boats, then I was like the title of the Farley Mowat book: The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float. I didn’t float and hated water because it frustrated me. And I’m grateful that my parents never let me give up.
The foto below (Lake Francis in New Hampshire, circa 1997) shows my most utilitarian stroke, even now. I call it the otter. It’s also the Ben Franklin, explained at the end of this post.
I’ve swum over a mile at a stretch doing the “otter,” doing some distance on my belly before turning and swimming on my back.
Swimming exercises all parts of the body and refreshes the spirit. As my body floats, so does my mind, travels through its own medium. During an intensely difficult time in my life (See March 2008 post here.), I fought to get access to water, used swimming as a means to maintain fitness, swam as a mental preparation for a possible escape by water, and spend time under water imagining a less threatening location. Swimming there provided the key to my very survival.
The foto below was taken in Noank last weekend, and given the water temperature (below 60 degrees), I would not have lasted a mile.
Here’s Mage’s preliminary swim post. I suspect she may do more, maybe much more tomorrow.
Finally . . . Ben Franklin was an unrepentant skinny-dipper, as were John Quincy Adams and Teddy Roosevelt.
Did you ever suspect you’d see nude tugster fotos on this site? Summer’s here and I guess the mind turns to mush.
Seriously, if you know someone who does not know how to swim, encourage that person to learn, or you be the teacher yourself. It’s more than a case of fun, refreshment, exercise, and inspiration . . .. it could be a matter of life and death.
Dive in!! Tell me one of your swimming stories.