Jane’s Y StoryStories and Videos
June 15, 2021
I was enjoying a beautiful October afternoon hike out in the Owyhees when I took a spill on some loose gravel, resulting in breaking both sides of my ankle. Long story short, it was going to be a long time until I could get back to my favorite activities: hiking, biking, and skiing. After the required surgery and basic recovery, I needed some non-weight bearing exercise. I was no spring chicken, wasn’t a swimmer, hated the idea of exposing myself in a bathing suit, and wasn’t particularly excited to jump into a cold pool. But it was what made sense.
Fortunately, I already knew one of the best Y swim instructors in town, and he let me twist his arm into giving me private lessons. Yes, it was embarrassing to show up, both physically and with my poor skills, but Mike was awesome at creating a comfortable and safe environment for this personal challenge.
Swim technique is hard to learn! In the water, we use our bodies in such a different way than on land. Mike had warned me it would be frustrating and slow-going. We started with floating and kicking on my back—as I remember it, for at least three weeks before we ever moved on to getting my face in the water to work on proper breathing technique. That’s when it got really hard. Mike was patient, positive, and genuinely interested in my success. He kept me inspired to push through, and I actually began to really enjoy my time in this new medium. Eventually it was time to join a group lesson and swim with the bigger fish. My technique isn’t beautiful, I still don’t love wearing the suit-cap-goggles outfit, and that first plunge is cold, but I gained confidence that I could still achieve new and complex skills, not to mention a new favorite activity.
—Jane, Downtown Boise YMCA Member