Richard and me at the YMCA pool.

This is Richard and me at the YMCA pool.  We’ve been working on his swimming AGAIN, and we practice twice a week.

He can now swim the length of the pool!  Hurray for Richard!


This is Richard’s story.  Around last fall, Richard came to join us in the YMCA water aerobics class.  Was he a sight to behold!  We use the shallow end of the pool to do our exercises where we can all easily stand in the water.  Somehow this gentleman managed to get into the pool all geared up with a pair of goggles on top of his head, swim fins on his feet and a foam flotation belt secured around his waist.  The lifeguards and everyone had their eyes on him!  With some convincing, he took the fins and goggles off and left his float belt on, so began his water exercises with us mostly senior women and another gentleman much younger than he.

At 80 plus years old, Richard hangs out at the YMCA like most of us ‘regulars’ and uses the machines and equipment that he can handle for his age and ability.  Then he heard about the water class and joined us to work out with water resistance apparatus,  balance and coordination and other exercises.  With him being the oldest man in the class and an affable person, he relished all the doting upon him and our teasing.  Not surprising for his age, he wears a back support when not in the water.  Since starting the class we have noticed that he, like the rest of us, has gained better body coordination and flexibility, strength and stamina from coming regularly to class.

Since he stayed for a few minutes after class watching a few of us swim, I got to talk to him and found out that as a young man he swam competitively and even won awards! But after marriage, raising a family, etc. he stayed away from  swimming for well over 30 years.

So Richard became ‘my project’ so to speak, to help him boost his confidence that he could swim again, and bring back to his remembrance the long lost joy of swimming and to regain skills he once had.  In the last several months we worked on learning to breathe between strokes, use his arms and legs in synchronization.  In the beginning, he tried to swim with his floater on.  Finally when he took it off,  he would start swimming from the 4′ mark in the middle of the pool and would run out of breath before reaching  the shallow end.  He was holding his breath a good while because he was not able to lift his head out of the water yet.

Then we progressed to counting the strokes and taking a breath each time; his freestyle form began to improve; his arms and legs were strong as he propelled himself through the water.  I would tell him, “It’s coming back, Richard, you’re remembering how you used to swim!”  I was his main cheerleader and soon others around the pool began to join me in praising his efforts as he continued to improve over these past months.  When Richard reverted to holding his breath, I would say, “Try it again.  This time, REMEMBER TO BREATHE!  BREATHE EVERY 3rd STROKE!  BREATHE, RICHARD!”  He was becoming more confident and  it began to come together for him.

Two weeks ago I told him that he would soon be ready to try the full length of the pool.  Last Thursday after class I started my laps and didn’t know that  he was in the next lane over and he caught up with me at the deep end!  I could not believe it and I was shouting!  We were both overjoyed!!!  I let him catch his breath, and we swam back together, he in his lane and me in mine!  He and I celebrated with hugs and high 5’s and there was a small commotion!   His ego has gone up 10 plus notches as he has gained the admiration of so many people.  He told me, “I LOVE THE WATER!”  He has seen me doing the backstroke, so that’s what we’re going to work on next!

Richard’s story confirms to me that WITH GOD’S HELP (like I never coached an adult in swimming ever before), ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. This is the scripture I claim for him and myself as well as for all of you seniors out there. . .

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:31)


About Shofar/Liz

I have a Christian blogsite-'God's Enduring Love' at https://heulu.wordpress.com with 'Words of Encouragement from the Bible and Liz's Journal'. Also, an art blogsite-'Art with Aloha' at http://artwithaloha.wordpress.com 'A Journal About Art and Life. I use acrylic and oil paints, graphite pencils and pen and ink.

Posted on July 12, 2013, in About Me And My Family, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That IS encouraging. I have a few old abilities I would like to re-gain! Sometimes we are afraid to believe it can happen. Congratulations to Richard! It is good to have a cheerleader! 🙂

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