I have been teaching swimming since I was twelve. I'll save you the math -- it's been 31 years.
I have taught hundreds of kids, and tens of adults. I have had students of all ages and all levels, from 3 months to 65 years, from beginners to advanced swimmers.
I teach all stroke forms, water survival, and even a bit of water ballet. I focus on improving technique and endurance.
The one thing I do not teach is competitive swim.
All my kids know how to swim. They have been in the water since they were babies.
This year, both my eldest daughter and my son have not attended swimming classes regularly; they are too busy and get out of school too late.
At the beginning of this year, my son expressed his intention to go swimming on his own, in the mornings, before school. His stated goal: to work out for half a year, then join the swim team.
The task turned out to be more challenging than he expected (for all sorts of reasons). He did not make it to the pool very often.
Two weeks ago, after Breichat Yerushalayim (The Jerusalem Pool) closed for the winter, HaPoel Yerushalayim (The Jerusalem Swim Team) started training at Ramat Rachel (the pool where I teach).
My son decided to try out for the team. This past Monday, he rushed to the pool, after school.
The coach watched him swim.
When my son got out of the pool, the coach told him, and me, that his technique is good, but that he needs to work on building up his stamina.
That my son needed to work on his endurance came as no surprise. He has not really been swimming since last year.
Last year, mid-year, when I had to switch chemo days from Tuesdays to Thursdays, I had to move all my swimming classes from Thursdays to Mondays. Unfortunately, my son had sayarut (scouts) on Mondays and could not get to the pool on time.
What I was not expecting, was to hear how good his form was.
The style I teach is different from the way the kids on the team swim. Also, when I see my son swim, there are all sorts of little details that I see, that need improvement.
As my son was swimming for the coach, one of the older kids on the team commented that my son has a strong back (it is unclear if he was referring to my son's back or his backstroke); either way, it was clearly a complement.
Then, the coach noted my son's good technique.
I have been teaching the same form for the last 31 years. Recently, I started wondering if the style I teach might be outdated.
It was so nice to get positive feedback from a serious trainer.
I feel validated.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
Yitzchak Meir - Machnisei Rachamim (audio)
3 hours ago