The Fighter

Nikki Bradley

After scaling the highest peaks, Nikki learns to swim

Nikki swimming

For the past two weeks I have been having swimming lessons with Gavin from Aura and so far it has been an interesting experience.

The guys at Aura Leisure Centre invited me to take part in regular lessons and I jumped at the chance.

I should point out before I go any further that I can swim, and by ‘swim’ I mean, I can kick my feet and move my arms enough to stay afloat.

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I am not however, a particularly good swimmer and I am definitely not a ‘strong’ swimmer.

This was the area I was particularly keen to improve on.

My first lesson was, dare I say it, fun! I recently splashed out on a bright red bathing suit from ‘Dunnes Boutique’ so I walked out to the water’s edge feeling like the woman from the ‘Special K’ ads (The blue swimming hat kind of ruined my moment though. It also didn’t help that I was wearing a ‘Radisson’ hat in Aura. Oops)

Gavin began the lesson by asking me to swim a little so he could evaluate my technique. He seemed less horrified with my ‘skills’ than I thought he would be so that was a good start.

I have always felt self conscious about swimming as I was never particularly graceful in the water.

I cannot take my crutch in obviously so I tend to end up walking sideways like a crab and on more occasions than I care to remember I have slipped and made a holy show of myself.

Slipping outside of the water is normal as the ground is wet but slipping while you are IN the water is a less common occurrence seen in swimming pools.

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Nikki 3

What can I say, I like to be different. Once the evaluation was over we began with some general exercises.

The first involved holding on to a flat float and using it to keep my arms in front of me while swimming.

Sounds easy, and it was.. until we took the float away. All of a sudden my brain didn’t know what was going on.

I instantly forgot which arm to lead with and kept forgetting to keep my arms stretched out in front of me.

It was quite the frustrating experience but I eventually fell into a rhythm and things began to improve.

I have always found swimming an exhausting experience and regularly struggled to keep breathing under control after a couple of laps.

My right leg is so weak it puts pressure on my left leg to make up the difference.

I have felt stiff in the pool from the extra pressure and suffer from cramps in my feet while swimming.

I am hoping my time with Gavin will iron out these  issues as I would like to eventually branch out to sea swimming.

I don’t like to swim in rough waters due to the weakness in my leg and this has stopped me from participating in water sports.

I also had a scary moment in the sea while in Marble Hill a few years ago which has left me feeling a little afraid of waves.

Once I feel more confident in the pool it will hopefully transfer into open water.

I plan to share my swimming ‘journey’ (I really must find a better word to replace ‘journey’) with Aura and will be participating in mini challenges along the way.

We are toying with the idea of a ‘0-60’ event where I will swim 60 lengths of the pool. I might not commit to that just yet though.

Let me get one more lesson under my belt first!

If you follow me on Facebook ,Twitter @nikkibradley59 and Snapchat @NikkiBradleySpeaks you can stay up to date over the coming months!

For more information on swimming lessons at Aura visit their website: www.auraleisure.ie/letterkenny

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