Empowerment through Action
Session 1: Swimming/19th Jan/2017
This was Rajita’s first session. In the beginning she seemed scared, so she held our hands as we did the warm up exercises. We supported her neck and lower thigh as she learned how to float. She was quite tense at the beginning but after a few tries she began to relax. However we need to work on her kicking and her lower body strength. Otherwise she was a delight!
Session 2: Swimming/25th Jan/2017
My second session was with Priyanka who is a more advanced swimmer having been here for an entire term so she was confident in water but I found that she needs to work on her lower body strength as well as cardio (because she got tired really fast). I should’ve asked her if she had had anything to eat prior to the session as this may have accounted for her fatigue. I think working with Priyanka really opened my eyes to the challenges and rewards that come with trying to teach somebody how to swim. There were moments when I froze, unable to think of how best to assist her because I wasn’t very experienced but I decided to put myself in her shoes and try as best as I could to imagine what difficulties she may have been facing with the exercises. This in turn made it easier for me to assess when and how I was to help her. I think that if she works on strengthening her lower body she will find it so much easier to get through the sessions.
Session 3: Swimming/1st Feb/2017
31st Jan- This is when we sat together during stream meeting and came up with this plan, this is only possible through group reflection in which we discuss our buddy’s strengths and weaknesses creating the plan accordingly and we type it out on the project site known as base-camp. I learned a lot about how to plan a session.
Session 6: Swimming/15th Feb/2017
I had this session with Mohini, she’s a beginner and this was her 2nd session. She seemed to enjoy herself but she is still struggling with getting comfortable in the water. I noticed this when I was teaching her how to float. I usually do this activity first, so as to get the swimmer comfortable and relaxed in the water, because I believe that like a trust test, when the swimmer realizes that the water can carry her weight if she lets it then she wan’t sink or drown. I hold her neck and mid-back firmly at the beginning, moving her around the pool and slowly loosen my grip when she begins to get comfortable.
However, the minute I let go she lost focus, her head propped up which meant that the rest of her body would sink. The reason I talk about this in such great length and depth is because it was the major problem and the most rudimentary. I then decided to then do breathing exercises underwater, as a way to show her that the water isn’t her enemy and she can stay under for a while and go back up to breathe again. I held her hands as we jumped under, breathing out through our nose and after six counts going back up. I think she had no difficulty doing this which meant that she wasn’t necessarily scared of the water but rather that she was rather frightened about losing control, as she lied on her back when she floated.
Moreover, she’s very good at kicking and can sustain it for long periods of time, as we did two full laps of kicking with the kick-board and although she got tired every now and then she did quite well for a beginner. Another aspect which I believe we need to work on is her core. When we did the out of swimming pool exercises she couldn’t do a simple sit up, and required support to help her get back up and hug her knees. All in all, I think she needs to work on her stamina and her core, by eating protein-rich foods as well as carbohydrates/fats for energy; and I will continue to work on her core during the sessions through various ab and back workouts.
All in all, I really enjoyed this session with Mohini because I have been learning Marathi and I could ask her about her country, whether the water was too cold, her age, where she goes to school. I feel like I really managed to build a relationship with her and am looking forward to the next sessions that will incorporate a Mohini-oriented plan that will target her weaknesses and elevate her strengths.