Open Water Swimming at Vobster, lesson 2

Alex Francis
Sep 21, 2019 · 2 min read

This morning, in beautiful sunshine, I had my second open water swimming lesson with Richard. For some reason I never learned front crawl as a child, in fact I can remember being in school swimming lessons and trying to do what I was told and yet moving backwards. That was that as far as I was concerned and I’ve got by with breaststroke since. Well, during my first lesson with Richard, as soon as he had decided I was safe in the water he told me quite directly, “you can’t really swim breaststroke in a wet suit!” And so he started to teach me front crawl.

The lesson today went really well to the point that I started to move through the water rather than just practising parts of the movement. The water is starting to get a little cold so I don’t last much longer than about 20 minutes. But that was enough to get somewhere: I feel like I’ve done something good today.

Vobster Quay is an inspirational place, particularly this morning. Richard pointed out that I was sharing the water with at least one world champion athlete, but also plenty of swimmers of different levels including some others with disabilities. I met a lady who’s been living with MS for some years but evidently is finding ways around the challenges this presents. We made a plan to meet up for some track cycling in the near future. I also had another great chat with Richard, and enjoyed the infusion of practical determined optimism. His background in rehabilitation of sports people has taught him that apparently insurmountable challenges can be overcome. I suspect he’s also met some incredible people, not to mention having worked through his own personal crisis and found the strength to turn it around.

Today I’m full of gratitude that I was able to go and swim, and to meet these awesome people. Who knows, but maybe without my disease I never would’ve had this opportunity.

Written by

Husband, Dad, Frome resident, reluctantly ex- runner, Polecat. MND/ALS patient.

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