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How did you learn to swim?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 26, 2007

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Photo of Christopher Vaughn

“I had swimming lessons. I was about 7, and my parents were afraid I was going to jump in the water and drown.”

Photo of Debbie Tann

“Swimming lessons at the YMCA in Findley, Ohio. I think kids should be in swimming lessons as soon as they can get in the water.”

Photo of Tyler Sheaffer

“My dad throwing me in the pond. It wasn’t too fun. I had swimming lessons later.”

Photo of Tabitha Carroll

“I was afraid of the bath water, so my mom signed me up for swimming lessons at the community pool in Leavenworth.”


sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

I didn't. I prefer snow, which is why I learned how to ski.

acg 10 years, 11 months ago

I also learned to swim with the "sink or swim" technique. However, my father chucked me out into the Mississippi River off of a fishing boat. Scared the holy crap out of me, but I swam, and I've been swimming ever since.

H_Lecter 10 years, 11 months ago

Swimming was the easy part...untying the cement blocks from my ankles was much more difficult.

Sigmund 10 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of Tabitha's bath water ....

torinmia 10 years, 11 months ago

it's not even the next day here in seattle!

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 11 months ago

I learned using the patriarch approved and applied "sink or swim" technique. I'm sure he would have tried to save me had I not bobbed surface of the river in a time fashion. Dad bashturd sombeetch!

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

I've never learned how to swim...

And yeah, I avoid the water...:)

Dixie Jones 10 years, 11 months ago

honest to god story here,we always went to the lake in mo growing up and my dad told my mother i needed to know how to swim if i was gonna survive with my brothers, so at almost a yr old they took me to the middle of pom de terra lake in mo and stopped the boat dad picked me up threw me in and said she will either sink or swim.. HA his wish to get rid of a daughter failed cause i swam like a fish my momma said and been swimmin ever since...I now have two sons who both have had lessons, i think a much better approach to swim tech 101.

trinity 10 years, 11 months ago

trial&error. ;) seriously-good ol' nasty muddy pomona lake, when i was a kid; the afore mentioned sink or swim approach! then hours&hours&hours all through my growing up years(and then some!)at the ottawa pool. sigh i wish i were 12 again! :)

ramsrevenge 10 years, 11 months ago

Parents threw me in the middle of Big Hill Lake when I was 4. Then they sat on the shore with a 30 pack of keystone lights and cheered me on. I've never swam since.

Bone777 10 years, 11 months ago

I had lessons at the Elks' Club swimming pool. My mom would drop us off at 10:00am and pick us up at 4:30pm.
Those poor, poor lifeguards...

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

My mom can't swim so she made all of her kiddies take lessons with American Red Cross. Even my brother (who can't walk) was required to know how to swim...or at least float! She (mom) took lessons herself and did master floating. I guess she never wanted to be in the position of having to save us from drowning.

My oldest kiddie has taken lots of lessons and is a good swimmer. My youngest only got a tiny bit of lessons when really young but she is still able to swim...her form is just not as good as the eldest.

Ceallach 10 years, 11 months ago

Never did. I almost learned how to drown when I was 11. That was the first time I went to a swimming pool (sad, huh? :) After that I never went into deep water.

I took all of my children to swim lessons, encouraged them from the side of the pool, and now I shower them with love and kindness, so that, should the unthinkable occur (falling into water above my shoulders) they will rescue me.

Ceallach 10 years, 11 months ago

Regardless of our posts above, sunny_sue is not my daughter :) Although, if she were, I would consider myself blessed.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

Every time I go near water, this cat comes and stands next to me, like it's waiting for something. It kind of creeps me out, so I tend not to swim anymore.

Where'd that cat come from, anyway? Some nursing home or something?


Chris Golledge 10 years, 11 months ago

Jones, LoL !!

Farm pond. Gradually worked deeper and deeper and figured out how work the arms and legs for it. Saw a snake in the water once and made the leap from dog-peddling to american crawl in seconds. Swim Forrest! Swim!

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

Ceal, Aw shucks! blush :)
p.s. I'd save you! I got all the way through my swim training...including rescue.

littlelawrencian 10 years, 11 months ago

Well, my first memory of swimming was at my dad's swimming pool at the apartments where he was living at the time. I was at the top of the swimming pool slide and wouldn't go any further. My bratty cousin, ended up pushing me so I had no choice but to go down the slide. I remember my dad was at the bottom to catch me but not before I went all the way down to the floor of the pool, then he grabbed me. Been swimming ever since, I did later kick my cousin's butt for pushing me, hey we lived in Texas then and wrestling was how we settled things haha. I also remember the first and last time I got on the high dive in about 6th grade. Couldn't go back down the ladder so had no choice but to jump. I still remember that feeling, much like starting anything major in life, you just have to jump! Oh and regarding cats, the night my father died in a car accident, our old cat just hovered around him and wanted to sit in his lap, would not leave him alone. She usually had NOTHING to do with him so we always remembered how strange that was, like she didn't want him to leave the house. Cats are spooky! After I got the swimming thing figured out, my whole life revolved around finding a swimming pool to swim in that day or finding a horse to ride. Every time I left the house I had these 2 things in mind. I got to swim a lot as I would just happen to have my swim suit on under my clothes. So if I ran into a pool or lake.....same with horses, I always wanted to ride the ponies and any horse I happened to see. Back then I always had to wear dresses, being the youngest of 4 kids, 3 of them boys, my mom was determined to dress me like a little girl. Being a tomboy, it always worked out that I would have shorts on under the dress. That way when they would tell me, no you have a dress on, you can't ride that horse, I would be able to say, but granny, I have my shorts on underneath! My granny sighed and let me ride in the rodeo parade on the back of my cousins horse(she was rodeo queen so it was a big deal to me!) I know she was praying I wouldn't get hurt as my mom would have freaked! ok enough of the memories already, sorry for the book...

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago

When I was 6 or 7, my mom took us to swimming lessons. I remember flunking, because I was scared of the water.
But my mom was able to coax us out, put our heads under and taught us to swim.

Christian Hinton 10 years, 11 months ago

My parents taught me the hard way.

They just tossed me in the water.

You know, the swimming really wasn't the hard part. The hard part was getting out of that d--n gunny sack.

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 11 months ago

I taught myself at 5 or 6 years old. Thankfully, I didn't have lame @$$ parents that would toss my into the water to "sink or swim."

coolmom 10 years, 11 months ago

i leaped in after a fish at about age 5 and managed to survive until drunken family members put their poles and beers down and fished me out. i got my butt tanned and leaped in again later in the day. i was never afraid of the water after that day for some reason.

dtaylor 10 years, 11 months ago

Jonas, your comment made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I needed that!

Bone777 10 years, 11 months ago

Fell in the Kansas River?

Lucky you didn't get e-coli. That is one nasty river.

TheEleventhStephanie 10 years, 11 months ago

I learned to fly when I went skydiving 2 weeks ago in Osage City!

Bone777 10 years, 11 months ago

Marion, Once again, intriguing. What happen to you brother? Sorry for your loss.

Kodiac 10 years, 11 months ago

My siblings and I have always been around water. Can't remember how I learned but it seems I have always been able to. All of us did go through the YMCA program (from guppies to the final LifeGuard classes) because our parents were determined to make excellent swimmmers out of all of us.

A few years ago, I did help with trying to find a drowning victim at the Lake of the Ozarks. My brother and I arrived at the scene far too late for the girl to have any chance. It was very tragic. I will always say something if I see young children without lifejackets especially around our midwestern lakes. It is surprising to me how many adults do not understand how impossible it is to find someone in these waters at any depth.

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