I love the sea and I am now in a serious relationship with surfing. But my feelings for the water weren’t always positive. As a young child, I was deathly scared of the water. I never dared to venture away from the safety of pool sides and the shallow beach.
My father, a champion swimmer in high school and college and also a swim instructor, was unsuccessful in teaching me how to swim. I remember him pushing me to the middle of a pool (during a company-family outing). I struggled and took in lots of water. If this is the first lesson in swimming, then I hate swimming. I don’t want to die young. It was only years later that I found out that this method (if you can call it that) is normal. This is to activate a kid’s natural ability to tread when in the water. Sorry, my inborn ability must be “panic”.
As an adult, I started to wade deeper and even learned basic swimming on my own, but as soon as the water reaches my shoulder, I would panic.
Then one day, I decided that this fear of the water and this inability to swim properly should not continue any longer. I realized that I cannot maximize the full enjoyment of surfing or snorkeling if I cannot swim. Not to mention doing other fun stuff like mermaid swimming and underwater hockey.
So while on my career break, I decided to enroll in adult swimming lessons (instead of enrolling in violin classes). Through a quick Google search, I found out that the best swimming school in Manila that actually has an adult program is Bert Lozada Swim School.
The school holds lessons in many venues in Metro Manila and I was happy to learn that they have classes at Ace Water Spa. Ace is a fantastic place for relaxation. I have been there a couple of times and slept like a baby after every visit.
The schedules and tuition rates differ depending on location so it is best to call your preferred venue to confirm. Contact information can be found at www.bertlozadaswimschool.com
The fee for 10 lessons (one hour each) is P5,000 at Ace Water Spa, Pasig. You also need to pay P350 as annual registration fee.
After enrollment, I made sure I had the proper swim wear and gear.
1. Swim suit – no cotton wear and board shorts allowed. If you are not comfortable in one- or two- piece suits, you can wear a rash guard and swim shorts on top. Speedo has them. (But Roxy’s rash guards look way nicer ^_~). For males, if you do not like wearing trunks, Speedo has knee-length jammers.
2. Swim cap – I bought one from Speedo (P399) but I always use the free one provided by Ace and return it after my lesson.
3. Goggles – P1,100 from Speedo
4. Kick board – I got mine from Olympic Village for about P500. You don’t have to buy an expensive one. Even those with Spongebob designs are OK.
For daytime swimming at outdoor pools, I highly recommend getting a good sunblock and darker goggles with UV protection. I didn’t need them because I swim in an indoor pool.
So day 1 of swim class. There were only 3 of us in the group. I was with my friend Peewee and another girl whose name I cannot remember. Our teacher is Sir Yacoub.
We started with the most basic: floating. Floating on the back, face down and mushroom. Then on to flutter kicks. For years, I’ve been kicking with a too-straight leg and always ended up tired with a bit of pain in the lower back. The trick to this kick to have a slight bend in the knee but not too much like you are running. The toes should be pointed. The kick should be driven from the hips and not from the lower leg or knee.
After Sir Yacoub was satisfied that we all got the flutter kick right, we moved to the torpedo or the streamline position. First is pushing off the wall in a streamline and just gliding and maintaining balance. Next exercise incorporated the flutter kick in the streamline position.
The last exercise of the day included paddling while kicking. This is after a few second streamline glide.
It was a fun day overall. The most important lesson for me is how to do the flutter kick properly. My teacher pointed out that my left foot turns inward as I kick so that is something I will need to be more conscious of for the next lessons.
What a great lesson. Fun! If only Papa could see me now.
PS: If this post helped you in some way, please consider clicking “Like” or “Share”. If you have questions, feel free to post them and I will do my best to answer them. Thanks!