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Lesson six: Breaststroke is the best stroke
Novice swimmer tastes success
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Jumping right in

Times summer intern Audrey Williams never learned how to swim. She’s one of many adults who lack that skill, but thanks to some classes with the Red Cross this week and next, she’s learning how and sharing that experience in daily columns on and occasional columns in The Times.

Day 1
Day 2 
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

My Monday swim lesson was enough for me to never again want to get into the pool at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center.

I had forgotten everything I’d learned in the previous week of my Red Cross adult swim lessons, and I was too frustrated with my failure to learn any of the new techniques.

Nevertheless, I went to my follow-up lesson and tiptoed into the pool.

“Today, we’re going to put the breaststroke moves together,” said my instructor, Max Sumner.

I’d learned the breaststroke kick and the breaststroke hand movement separately, an easier approach, Sumner said.

All I needed to finally start swimming was to put them together.

Wanting desperately to erase Monday’s bad memory and with the support of a floating noodle, I began. I floated on my stomach, pushed the water away from me and kicked.

“Do you feel that? You’re moving forward,” Sumner said.

Water parted in front of me, and Sumner stepped back with every glide I made, coaxing me to swim further. It was like a parent teaching a child to walk.

“Swim towards me ... just a little further,” he said.

I was moving through the water, and it was surreal. I couldn’t contain the feeling of accomplishment I had, and I started giggling as I swam.

This lesson was a complete turnaround from the day before, and I was on cloud nine at the end of class.

“You’re doing so good,” my classmate Cornelia Martin said. “You’re doing now what I was doing on my second session of swim lessons.”

My instructor congratulated me and told me to prepare for today’s lesson.

“We’re going to try without the floatie tomorrow,” he said.

I’m not sure how ready I am for that, but if you had asked me if I was ready to be in the water at all a week ago, I would have said the same thing.

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