A Mom’s Journey to Oliver

Part Three In a Series

Embarking on Aquatic Confidence

Before I talk about my first swim lesson with Teresa, I want to take a moment to reveal some personal information about myself that I feel is relevant. I navigate life with high functioning social anxiety, for those who don’t know what that is, I basically make up conspiracy theories in my mind. Stories that, in reality, never unfold. So let’s take that and add my constant over thinking, depression and ADD you might say I’m tailor made for a high pressure event. (Cue awkward laughter) 

Now, I mention this because one of my fears is swimming. So of course, thinking about diving into open waters amps up the anxiety. The unknown depths and unpredictable waters make it hard for me to breathe, instantly start the panic! 

So now that we know my way of thinking, let’s dive (pun intended) into my first pool swim session! 

The weeks leading up to it had me crippled with nervous anticipation, my mind conjuring up pitfalls of potential failures that could unfold in the pool. Yet, much to my relief, it went swimmingly.

Teresa’s approach really put me at ease. Before we got in the water, she outlined the hour’s plan and the specific techniques we would be working on. It’s important to note that my swimming proficiency, while existing, is far from being technical; I basically stick to avoiding drowning and typically try to stay out of the water rather than in it. Teresa, understanding my comfort level, never pressured me to move forward until I felt ready.

First we worked out of the water to ensure I felt comfortable before going in. Once in the pool, we started with arm techniques and floating. As we progressed, we immediately hit the first issue—putting my face in the water. A fear that stems back to swim lessons as a kid,  the discomfort of a wet face , along side a strange sense of claustrophobia when holding my breath, is clearly an issue. Teresa then adjusted her approach, incorporating strategies to ease my anxiety.


A simple but effective tip was given, one I’ll share with you guys. Start humming a song while submerged under water, its use to help with breathing. With my kids’ favorite, “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles, on repeat in our house, I instinctively began humming as I went back under. I didn’t immediately get it, it took a few tries but eventually it really worked. Teresa also used touch points to reassure me, helping ground me through the initial anxiety attacks. Throughout the rest of the session, she remained close, offering support whenever needed. By the lesson’s end, I felt significantly more confident, completing 4X25 at my own pace while maintaining the techniques she taught.  

The training wasn’t all serious, we shared laughs and memories, discussing my training goals and devising strategies for the work ahead. For beginners like me, this personalized approach worked amazing and really is an invaluable resource to my training. Opting for private lessons allowed me to progress at my own pace, free from the pressure of catching up to others. Post-workout, we recapped my progress in the hot tub, making the entire experience not just about learning but also about enjoying the journey.

Part One

Part Two

Part Four

Part Five

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