Master Swimming
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When I was a 6 year old child swimming was for me the greatest horror one can imagine. My parents had decided that swimming belonged to my learning carreer and enlisted me at the nearby Town Swimming hall with an old experienced but rather rude swimming master. The first exercises were on firm ground on a bench: "one-two-three" the breast stroke cycle. So far so good, but then came the wet part.He showed me some kind of a fishing rod with a rope and a belt fixed to it wherein I would fluctuate on the water and repeat the "One-two-three" exercise. But when we came to the margin of the deep water swimming basin he gave me a kick and I disappeared into the water. I only remember the turbulence and all the bubbles over my head while I was sinking deeper and deeper. The shock was so great that I did not move and the swimming master had to fish me from the ground like a drowned frog. This experience marked my whole life and all later attempts to swim ended in horror visions of drowning the moment my face got wet.
The maximum I learned was some kind of dog paddling with the neck so high out of the water like a submarine snorkel.
The first real attempt to overcome these drowning horror feelings was on the Ipanema beach when I was already 25 years old. The salt water carrying properties and the necessity of "go or dy" in the incoming waves slowly transformed myself into a beach boy. But breast surfing and on top of the waves paddling does not mean swimming. This I found out very soon in calmer waters.

The solution was to put on fins and do the most radical thing which I could imagine: diving as deep as I could.

It was a long and difficult fight with my drowning complex. As soon as the face got wet, convulsions started. There was no wave which I forcibly had to cross, there was only my personal decision to immerse completely and I did.

Still the drowning complex stayed for many many years in spite of regular diving exercises. The critical moment was always the immersion of my face. Once done, o.k.

Now you know what it meant when my wife invited me some years ago to participate in a Masters swimming group at our sailing club. The coach made a breast stroke test with me and I crossed the whole basin without breathing, head down to make a better figure, as I imagined. The comment of the coach to my wife was deadly: "hopeless case, but for you I shall try..."

You can not imagine that today, after four years I swim the four styles in Medley contests, starts and turns still far from perfect and butterfly with breast stroke legs (I dislike the dolphin kick) but I am and feel myself a Master competition swimmer, recognized by my collegues as a real swimming athlete.The way to perfection and more speed is still very long but it is a challenge which I like. You have something to do for the coming years, something that increases your knowledge and experience.

The proof of my progress you can see below:

       My coach Enedina (3rd f. left), my wife Maria Thereza(4th f. left) and me (5th f. left)