Memoirs of a Navy Brat






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Learning To Swim in the Open Sea  




Learning to swim was just a matter of time for most of us, given the enticing environment we were in.  I don't remember the sunken pontoon barges behind our quarters as just a rich fishing ground and mussel farm, but also a swimming venue were family and friends would gather on occasions. It was particularly very inviting to take a dip, or frolic in the waters covering the pontoon barges during high tides, and most especially while it was raining. Everybody in the house, joined by neighbors, would descend on the pontoon barges on occasions like these, to have fun while the rain continuously kept on falling.

The already good swimmers would be swimming farther out of the pontoons. Some would be content just sitting or lying on their bellies in the shallow water, while others, including myself, would descend farther to the side of the barge to practice the leg movements of swimming while holding on to the pontoon's edge. Then to learn how to float, we did the swim crawl, simulating the way a dog swims, going back and forth by the barge's side, always staying close so we can readily cling to the edge if we began to sink. This was the method I followed in learning to swim, at the age of ten, with no professional trainer.

I would later refine my swimming skills at the base swimming pool, where it was safer learning how to swim in different styles, doing underwater swimming, and honing my diving skills. When I was already an accomplished swimmer, I would join neighbors and friends in open water swims, diving from the sea wall and swimming to the second sunken pontoon barge.

My swimming experience would come in very handy later on in my P.E. swimming classes in college.

[RPS Rajah Soliman Capsizes Off Bataan]



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