I nearly drowned when I was a little girl. One minute I was wading knee deep in a river, the next I’d stepped into a hole and was over my head. I still remember the panic.
Yesterday, as I watched my son swim his last lesson of the year, I realised he doesn’t need them anymore. At 14 he can out-swim me, easily doing 24 freestyle laps of the pool, whilst I’d be struggling to finish one.
I never learned to swim as a child. My parents grew up in the mountains of Northern Italy and when they immigrated to Australia learning to swim was probably the last thing on their minds. It didn’t stop them from taking us on day trips though, to the beach, to lakes and rivers. We had some memorable times. Especially the day when I went under the water, and nearly didn’t come back up!
We were at Paradise Valley playing in the water. I remember watching the others swimming and then suddenly I went under. I remember thrashing about, the terror. It seemed to last an eternity but it was probably only seconds. Fortunately my brother was nearby. We never told our parents!
Growing up, school swimming carnivals were a nightmare. I forged signatures, hid in the change rooms, skipped classes, anything to avoid the swimming days. It was only after meeting Doug, who loved to spend time in the water, that I realised it was time I learned how to swim.
Now I love the water, though I’m still wary. And as our kids grew up we made sure they both learnt how to swim.
Australia is blessed with thousands of places to enjoy the water and our travels have taken us to many of them.
From pristine lakes, meandering rivers, spectacular beaches and rock pools – to not teach my kids how to swim would have been a crime.
Our next adventure is to the Eyre Peninsula along the South Australian coast. I’m looking forward to more days in and around the water, sunny days on the beach and enjoying time with my family. This is what Summer time in Australia is all about – relaxing, living life to the full and making the most of every day.
Sink or swim? Well, I’m happy to say that I survived and I’m still swimming.