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How did you learn how to swim?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 30, 2010

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Photo of Courtney Curtis

“I learned how to swim because my parents threw me in the ocean.”

Photo of Sean Hall

“By repeatedly jumping in the pool with my aunt standing there catching me.”

Photo of Bob Winter

“At the YMCA.”

Photo of Cheryl Lester

“My big brother threw me in the water and chased me around, that animal. I learned to swim fast.”


somedude20 3 years, 10 months ago

My dad made me watch Jaws 1, 2 and 3-D then took me to the pier at the beach and threw my butt in the ocean while my older brother swam around with a shark fin on his back. I learned very fast


IndusRiver 3 years, 10 months ago

Sink or swim...or maybe I really did know how to swim...

...I love everything about the sea...sea horses, sea shells, c minus

Swallow me, don't follow me, I'm traveling alone......Bette Midler, Shiver Me Timbers.


mom_of_three 3 years, 10 months ago

I remember taking swimming lessons when I was about 5. It was in the mornings, and I was too cold and scared to listen, so I vividly remembering flunking. But I think my mom eventually taught us to hold our breaths, float and kick. I wouldn't win any contests for form, I get to the other side when i try, and I don't sink, so I guess she was successful.


denak 3 years, 10 months ago

Like Py, I don't remember a time when I didn't know how to swim. I do remember taking lessons when I was younger but it has always been a given. I've always known how to swim so I must have learned very, very young.

Swimming, for me, is one of life's great joys. Anyone who doesn't know how to swim, I highly encourage them to learn. It is good excercise and a great stress reducer.



Pywacket 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't remember ever not knowing how to swim. We were always at one lake or another.

Improved my technique with swim lessons at the junior high pool over the summers. And even learned synchronized swimming (water ballet) in gym class (jr high). We had to choreograph our own routines to whatever music we chose. Good times...


tange 3 years, 10 months ago

Well, beyond the imitated and improvised movements, there was the wee-hour formal stint, which I generally recall as an exercise in overcoming shivering.


silverhawkling 3 years, 10 months ago

It was a three feet deep, six feet diameter cattle trough that was bought specifically to act as a swimming pool for my two younger brothers and I when i was five. My grandparents just tossed us in and hoped we didn't drown. I'm still here, so I guess it worked.


beatrice 3 years, 10 months ago

I was sitting on my momma's shoulders in the river when, without warnin, this girl not to far away suddenly got possessed by the Devil! She started flopping around and splashing and kicking and stuff! My momma just took off for the shore, not caring one bit that she done dumped me in the water. Can't blame her. She was mighty scared. We alll were, and all the big people headed for shore too, but all of them others took there youngens along. Anyway, I was still in the water - just me, the girl, and the Devil. Well, I was little, but could tell the girl was gonna drown. The Devil had a good grip on that one. Once I realized that once she was gone under I would be alone in the water with an otherwise unoccupied Devil! Didn't want that, so I decided right then and there that I better learn to swim. So I said a quick prayer, and then was swimming toward the shore like I'd been doing it for years. And that is just what I done. Made it to shore just before the possessed girl went under for the last time. We all stood and watched.

Years later people said it was probably an epileptic seizure or something. I don't think so. I know it was the Devil. So if ya think about it, I guess you can say Jesus taught me how to swim.

Michael might have rowed his boat ashore, but I swam - hallelujah!


autie 3 years, 10 months ago

We was a runnin trot lines on the river and Daddy grabbed my little ass and hurled me off into the water. "Go to the bank Boy, go to the bank..." and then bitched caused I didn't grab that bullfrog....we always grabbed all frogs and put em in a sack to's a french thing.


1029 3 years, 10 months ago

well, i wasnt just gonna stand there on the boat while it burned. once i was in the water, i just somehow knew what to do even though i aint never swam before. and then i was able to just hang onto a piece of the boat after it finally exploded.


Donnuts 3 years, 10 months ago

I went to a pool that no longer exists in Lawrence that used to be on Crestline and University drive. I also used swim in Topeka in a pool behind Richman Gordman before I was 5.


raginredhead 3 years, 10 months ago

I learned to swim at the Wellsville pool. My mother signed me up for the 8:00 lessons during the first session. Imagine if you will a small blue-lipped child clinging to the side of the pool begging for mercy through chattering teeth. The woman was a masochist, she knew the water hadn't warmed up yet.


1234 3 years, 10 months ago

I think swimming is something that you just kinda "know" how to do... I mean obviously theres a difference in a swimmer that competes in those LONG distance swims and someone who is thrown in and has to swim to shore.... I believe that everyone knows how to do some kind of swimming to stay afloat. But.... I was in Lawrence's swim lessons forever it seemed like as a kid.


Deja Coffin 3 years, 10 months ago

I learned to swim at the Eudora swimming pool and I spent many summers there..... haven't been there since they completely remodeled it. 5 DAYS!!!! Everyone have a nice and safe holiday weekend!!


spacehog 3 years, 10 months ago

Courtney looks like me at the lake right now. Insectoid shades, mouth wide open to catch all the cigarette butts and B.O. on the water surface. Man, that B.O. sheen looks as bad as that oil leak. I only go to Gage Park really late at night, to meet new friends.


spacehog 3 years, 10 months ago

Ahoy, Matees! Butt Pirate Spacehog reporting for duty. I "learned" at the Jayhawk Plunge. I was 6 months old. My folks had me in the water. My dad looked the other way for a sec and I swam off on my own. They started dropping me off the diving board to each other the same summer.


tange 3 years, 10 months ago

With sharks... er... snarks.


Multidisciplinary 3 years, 10 months ago

When I was a child I was standing in a river playing with some other kids. None knowing how to swim. But I learned fast when this one girl she became possessed by the devil. I swam to the other side escaping to safety. Almost all the other kids learned to swim that day too. That day I learned the devil can't swim. So everyone needs to learn how to swim.


RoeDapple 3 years, 10 months ago

I know how you feel Courtney. For me it was the polar bear exhibit at Gage Park.Yup, dad said he had a night pass so we would climb over the fence about 3:AM every Friday night all summer back in '62, then he would through me in and go hide. I was supposed to swim laps for 10 minutes then get out and look for him. He was so predictable, always going back home to hide under his covers. Always acted so surprised to see me. After I learned how to swim he taught me to box.

With the kangaroos. . .

I miss my dad, but last time I saw him he said he'd be back soon.It's only been 37 years, so I expect him back anytime now . . .


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