I did my Open Water class and pool course and got through the swimming component. I’d been dreading it and didn’t enjoy it at all. Following that, I progressed through my Advanced Open Water course and then my rescue diver course.
Funnily enough, as I continued to advance in my diving career, my swimming simply improved to a certain degree all on its own. I suppose that it was only natural as I became more and more comfortable being in deep water wearing scuba gear. Once I knew I could float at the surface and that I knew generally what waited for me below the waves, those fears of slipping below the surface or being at the surface and not knowing what was below just evaporated.
Gradually that fear simply dissipated more and more, so much to the point that I would gladly jump off a dive boat in the middle of the ocean and go for a brief swim.
What truly took me from where I started with those fears to where I am now, however, was the Divemaster course. On the Divemaster course, candidates are required to pass some significant swimming components. In particular, there are four exercises that test stamina and water skills: a 400m swim; a 15 minute tread with hands out of the water for the last two minutes; an 800m snorkel swim; and, a 100m tired diver tow.
Combined with the skills is a scoring system. Each skill carries a maximum of 5 points and a combined score of more than 12 is required for a Divemaster candidate to pass this portion of the course. For the three swimming skills, the number of points awarded is contingent on the time taken to complete the skills. The tread skill awards points on whether the candidate can keep their hands out of the water and don’t need to use any support during the skill.
For someone who wasn’t the best swimmer to begin with, this was obviously quite a daunting part of the course.
Why this got me to where I am now and why this is a key part of the philosophy that we bring to our students, I’ll explain the next post…..