Bri, August 2014

I set out to find private adult swimming lessons in San Diego, somewhere with a teacher who specialized in people like me…. people who were convinced they would sink and drown if they got near a large body of water. And somehow I did: I found John, a swim coach, scuba diver, and retiree who lived nearby me, off the Sea World exit on the 5.

His promise was that he would teach me to swim in 4 lessons or my money back. Speaking of money, it wasn’t going to be cheap: for the 4 50-minute, one-on-one lessons, the cost was $400. And honestly, at this stage in my life, for me, that was more than worth it. After reading his testimonials and seeing that there was a guarantee, I decided to email John about taking lessons. When his pool opened up for the season, I was one of the first people he called to schedule. And within one week, he taught me how to swim.

Guarantee or not, I showed up for my first lesson convinced that John was going to turn me away or give up on me. Instead, I left that first day realizing something incredible: drowning is hard to do. It was in that class that John made a joke he probably doesn’t even remember: he called me “The Unsinkable Bri.” And in that moment my life started to take a new direction. Everything just clicked.

By the end of my fourth lesson, I was jumping into the deep end, treading water, doing back floats and taking underwater selfies. All things that might sound like no big deal to most people, but were previously unfathomable before I met John. And while I’m nowhere near a strong swimmer yet, I am unsinkable and in turn, unafraid. I couldn’t convey how huge this is if I tried.

I’m signing up for group swimming lessons at SDSU in the fall, something that was not even remotely possible before I met John: I would have freaked out if I tried to learn with other people around or with a coach who didn’t know how to work through my fears.

So today, on this first day of the last month of summer, I’m finally confident enough to say to the public: I can swim!

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