The last time I was in a pool deeper than 5 feet was probably over 3 years ago, when I was taking life-guarding classes during high school. I taught myself how to swim when I was 16 (after failing PE because I was terrified of drowning). My senior year of high school, there was an after school program for students interested in getting certified as lifeguards. I joined. I thought that it would make me a better swimmer and it did. During the course, besides the in-class practicals, written exams, we also had to practice in the water. Then speed was also an issue. We had to pass the swim test under a certain time. I did fine. I passed and got certified.
What I don't understand, is what happened on Monday night as I swam across the pool towards the deep end. I usually swim in my campus gym (deepest it gets is probably 6 feet). Today, I had a class on West Campus, the pool was 11 feet at it's deepest here. I didn't sweat it when I walked into the pool room. This should be easy. I had just biked 10.5 miles on the stationary bike, so my legs felt like jello.. 10 laps should be fine for today.
First four laps were ok, I would breathe every 3 or 4 strokes. I was calm.
On my third way back towards the deep end, water started seeping into my goggles. I also had no contacts on because my eyes had been bothering me. As they started to fill up with water, I kept swimming. My goggles started bothering me to the point where I had to close my eyes.
I panicked the second I closed them. How far was I from the wall?
I started taking a breath after every stroke. Should I just grab the wall on my left? I tried peeking through my goggles. I could see I wasn't that far away, so I relaxed a little and just kept trying to move forward. My hand finally touched the end of the pool. My heart was beating so fast. Why am I so scared? Is it the fear of drowning? Failing? I use to love to dive into the deep end. What's going on..
I had situated myself in the lane next to the wall, right where the lifeguard was sitting. I shouldn't be worried..
I took a deep breath, and swam towards the shallow end. As I was standing in the shallow, I wanted to quit and climb out of the pool. This is ridiculous.
I was so pissed off at myself. I tried again.
The same thing happened. I was gasping for air near the last few feet from the end. Stupid goggles.
I finally climbed out.
What was wrong with me? I know this was probably because I am unfamiliar with the feeling of swimming in the deep again... but this def scared me. I'm not sure why I'm still scared of drowning..
During my swim I kept thinking of people who compete in triathlons and about the swimmer who drowned in the lake during the race last summer. This really discouraged me. I don't think I'll ever be able to swim in the lake.. Not after today.
I still have hope though.. I'm determined to go back next week (with better goggles). I'm hoping this time around I don't chicken out.
Any tips of how not to freak out?
Is there anything that scares the hell out of you, but you still go ahead and do it?