My third lesson once again provided me a little one on one instruction, with Martha. Even though I was still in learning mode, she proceeded to have me swim the length of the pool, first on my side, then by doing the crawl/freestyle (all with a floatation device.) Then, we did more planned sinking into the deep end to lessen my fear of the bottom. But when it came to swim to the other end by myself without any assistance or floatation help, I faltered. It was disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. Nor was the tense feeling I got when Martha asked me to float on my back. What should have been relaxing became a source of discomfort for me, mostly because I didn't know how to do it and hadn't been in that position for years. That, and the water that rushed up my nose when my head sank below sea level. On the one hand, I felt good because I felt like I had made some vast improvements from my first lesson, but on the other it was frustrating because I wanted to be better, faster.
I came to my fourth and final lesson brimming with confidence, because for the first time in between lessons, I practiced swimming. What I discovered was that when someone wasn't trying to correct my form and when I didn't overthink things, I was relaxed, swam comfortably and even floated on my back for a while. Who knew swimming could be so much fun? That confidence carried over into my last lesson, as Martha had me swim the length of the pool then back using a kickboard. Then she had me hold a golf ball in either hand and do the same. Finally, I achieved my goal of swimming the crawl/freestyle one full length of the pool with no assistance and no stopping! It was an amazing feeling and I felt like I'd just won Olympic gold. The lesson continued on a little longer, but honestly, I was so elated that I don't remember much about what happened after. That's because I had learned to swim!
(Here are Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed them)