Two months ago Anil and I signed up for private swimming lessons at my gym (Bakar Center at UCSF's Mission Bay Campus). We have one or two 30-minute sessions per week and by now we already had 15 lessons, so I thought it is a good time for a short update. (We will take 5 more classes this year and likely we will buy another package of 10 classes next year.)
So far both of us really enjoy the swimming lessons (otherwise we would not be voluntarily waking up at 5 am!) and we both feel that we learned a lot during them. We also like our instructor (Peter), despite the fact that he seems not to get my jokes about marriage :)
Even though Anil and I have different swimming strengths and weaknesses, still it works out pretty well for us to have lessons together. Usually we try to come at least 20 minutes before our instructor comes and use this time to practice by ourselves. If there are two of us, one can watch the other and pass some comments/suggestions for improvement. I am also considering bringing my underwater camera next time we go swimming, so that we can film ourselves and then watch our mistakes at home. Hopefully that will help us improve even faster.
I always felt comfortable in the water and I was able to swim fairly well on my back, the breaststroke (although with my head above the water), and on the side. Hardly ever I was attempting to swim the crawl as my style was pretty bad: I was splashing lots of water and I had no idea how to coordinate breathing. Thanks to our lessons I finally know how to do it properly!
During first several classes we were practicing various drills that were focusing on a proper body positioning in the water. Once we became comfortable with them, we moved on to swimming the crawl. And, to my great amazement and joy, I had no more problems with breathing! With every class I feel more and more comfortable swimming the crawl, and I am sure that soon I will be pretty good at it. Even now, just after a few classes, Anil and I can swim as fast as other people in the pool, and our strokes look more gracious than the ones of many of them. (I am really surprised by that. I always thought that some people have more "natural" talent for swimming and that I am not one of these people. Our personal experience clearly demonstrates that this is not a case and that swimming is a skill that can be easily thought and learned.)
Recently we also started to work on our breaststroke. Surprisingly, Anil has more problem with it than with the crawl. For me it feels very natural and easy, but clearly I can see that it is not as fast as the crawl. I am also not sure how much space for improvement is left there...
I also hope that next year we will have a chance to learn how to swim the butterfly, something I always wanted to do.