I've just come back from my first ever swimming lesson and it's shattered a few illusionsI can tell you. I've always taken a light-hearted approach to my lack of swimming ability. When asked if I could swim I'd reply "Well, I've never failed", and I've always said that if I did go in I'd just stand up and walk out again.
Now I realise that it's not so easy. My teacher Sharon is both very competent and very patient. She came equipped with very efficient and confidence-inspiring buoyancy aids. (Even if she later confided she'd got them in Poundland!) But I didn't find it easy. It was bad enough with a planned immersion and a patient helper, but I now realise just how much I would panic if I fell in suddenly and unexpectedly!
Although what I wanted to learn was how to get myself out as quickly and safely as possible, I first have to be taught how to stay afloat for as long as possible in the first place. This was definitely not easy - at one point even the patient Sharon decided I must be one of nature's "natural sinkers"! Still, I only really panicked once and by the end of the first lesson I could just about keep myself afloat (with the help of the buoyancy aid that is) and I have learnt what to do with the arms and legs to get me out of the water provided that I'm not out of my depth.
But I've still got a long way to go and booked another lesson and we'll take it from there.
However, one thing today's lesson has shown me is how lucky the people of Lancaster are to have such a superb sports and leisure complex at the University which they are allowed - indeed encouraged - to use. It's something the town itself could never afford!