I often teach people who are in their 50s, 60s, 70s even 80s and are learning to swim for the first time. It has made me re-examine my own ideas about learning things or discovering things later in life and also what it is possible to acheive. Learning to swim can open up a whole new world and just because you haven’t done it earlier, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth doing. It is so easy to close down options and believe it is too late, but I have seen that this is just not true. Some people learn so quickly that I feel there was a swimmer lurking inside them all along, they just didn’t know it.
The interesting thing is that every person I teach seems to teach me something. For example I often tell people that it is impossible to flip from floating on your front to floating on your back without using either hands or feet to roll you over. You can’t do it by just rolling because there is nothing to push against. I usually tell people this because they are afraid of rolling over so I tell them it is impossible. But the other day met a woman who astounded me by doing it. But she could only roll one way. Turned out she has spina bifida. She compensated so well that I could hardly tell, but one side is shorter than the other. Her disability allows her to do something that no-one else I have met can do, that I thought was impossible.