Bathing Suits and Swimming

When I went to Tampa last week, I didn’t take a bathing suit. (When she found out, my friend’s mom said I must be one of the only people in the world who will go to Florida on vacation and not bring a swimsuit.)

The reason I didn’t take a swimsuit is because I don’t own one.

Since I’ve worn a swimsuit so infrequently in the past 7-or-so years, I can tell you the times I remember putting one on. I know I went to Myrtle Beach with a group of friends back in the summer of 2001, a few weeks before I had surgery on my back. I know I put on a swimsuit then.

A few years ago when I was living in California, my aunt and uncle had a pool in their backyard. One day when both of them were gone, I put on a swimsuit and got in (yes, during the 12 months I lived in California, I got in that pool exactly one time). I stayed in the water for a few minutes before I got back out.

When I did a closet-purge before moving back to Virginia in 2006, I got rid of the swimsuit. It was well over five years old by that time and my body shape had changed — so it no longer fit properly anyway.

There are two factors involved: 1) My skin is pale and I don’t lay out in the sun to tan, so there’s no reason for me to go parading around with minimal clothes on; and 2) I don’t enjoy being in the water. In fact, I’ve never been able to swim all that well. (Since I haven’t even tried to swim in years, there’s a good possibility I wouldn’t remember anything I used to know. I could probably save myself from drowning by floating on my back, but I can’t make any promises.)

When I was a kid, I was able to propel myself from one end of a swimming pool to the other (complete with massive splashing, since I never learned proper technique), but I never went into the deep end and I never learned how to tread water.

At age (almost-)28, is it time I learned how to swim? It’s certainly not a pressing issue in my life right now since it’s easy for me to avoid getting in the water, but I think it’s something I’d like to be able to say I can do. Or at least it would be nice not to have to say in the future, “No, I can’t do such-and-such because I don’t know how to swim.”

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