APRIL 2023
For me, having had a bad experience when younger has left me with a fear of water.  Walking the coast and seeing people swimming has always made me wish I could be one of them. On one of my walks I saw two swimmers in orange tops who were training a couple, they weren’t swimming but doing different exercises including floating and putting their faces in the water. I waited until they came out of the water and spoke to the trainers, Terri and Allie of Coastal Swim Coaching. My first words were, I’d never put my face in the water, their reply was, you will.
I explained my fear and was told there was a free session which would help me, so I booked a place. I have to say that with no sleep the night before and feeling sick with nerves I almost didn’t go. However not going would have meant letting both myself and Terri and Allie down as I’d booked my place.
After the talk on safety, sea conditions and wind direction it was time to enter the water. My hand was held on entering the water and as I was so afraid I couldn’t take my feet of the sand when asked to use a float so Terri held my float and walked backwards while I kicked my legs.
I came out of the water so pleased that I’d started the journey to overcome my fear. Every session is different, as the sea is always changing but I thoroughly enjoy my time in the water and it’s all down to the care, understanding and guidance of Terri and Allie, plus the many laughs we have along the way. They encourage me to improve and now although I only wanted to dip in the sea I’m learning to swim front crawl. I started with Terri and Allie in November and in March they said to try a few swims in-between my sessions with them so that’s what I do. My nerves are still there but I’m getting better.
From entering the water that first time I’ve felt safe with them by my side. I swim on my own now but they are still keeping me safe with the knowledge they have given me on sea conditions, water movement, wind direction and entering and leaving the water safely.
Meeting Terri and Allie has enriched my life and given a new dimension to my life, both with overcoming fear and meeting new people.I perhaps should mention that I’m seventy one, soon to be seventy two. So you’re never to old to learn. 🏊🌊
My free session with Terri and Allie at Hele Bay was on 5th November 2022.
My first year has been eventful and I’ve achieved such a lot. I’ve overcome my fear of being out of my depth, this just seemed to happen naturally.
I asked Terri and Allie if they would teach me body boarding, this was great fun. They also gave advice on snorkeling, this was because I wanted to go over to Lundy and swim with the seals. I did this in September. I stood on the diving platform of the boat and just stepped off with no fear whatsoever, it was a magical experience to have a seals all around you. I can’t believe I had the confidence to go, but Terri and Allie inspired this confidence. So thank you once again for enabling me to achieve this.
I can now dive off rocks and dive down to gather pebbles, although this activity still needs some work on my part but there are lots of laughs along the way.
I go to all the sea swimming sessions at different locations, they’re fun and I learn something different each time, and there’s always a sense of wellbeing at the end. I’ve met new people and made friends along the way.
I also had a few sessions in a ten metre swimming pool in March but didn’t managed to swim a full length without getting out of breath and tired.
Now it’s November 2023 and I’m back in a 25 metre pool having lessons as I need to increase my stamina if I want to join Terri and Allie on their swims around the coast. But this is where my fear of water stems from, being pushed in at the deep end before I could swim.
I can now say that with the help of Allie helping me in the pool and Terri advising me and keeping me calm I’ve now overcome my fear, its as though I’m now free to  go forward. I can now swim 50 lengths in an hour, but with short rests when needed. However my aim is to keep swimming nonstop for as long as I can.
Today 13th January I made my first 250 metre sea swim. I had to have several stops along the way so now my aim is to keep trying until I can do this nonstop.
I can’t believe I’ve come so far. Now if someone looks at the swimmers in the sea they could well be looking at me.
It’s only January so I’m wondering what this year, or should I say what Terri and Allie have in store for me for my second year with them, only time will tell.