In 1914, my father wrote an essay on ‘Swimming’ in which he said:
There’s no better exercise for the average boy or girl than swimming. It develops the muscles in the arms and legs, while mentally, it increases one’s confidence and teaches one to think quickly.
Man is the only creature that does not swim naturally. Animals make the same movement swimming as they do walking, while man has to adapt himself to the water.
. . .
The trudge on or crawl stroke is the fastest way of swimming although too strenuous to keep up for any length of time.
No matter which way one swims, he is sure of a fine exercise and a good time and therefore my advice to those who always sit on the bank is, “Get in the water.”
I remember my parents signing my twin sister and me up for swimming lessons at about age five in Mere Point, Maine. Although it was in July, the water seemed freezing cold to me and, as my father referred to above, ‘I sat on the bank’ while my twin, Mercy, learned to swim that week.
Years later, when we lived in Pickens, South Carolina, we built a beautiful pool in our backyard. Although I was in my late thirties, I only dog-paddled when our pool was built. Pat and our children taught me how to swim and before long I was the most avid swimmer in our family. I remember swimming just six laps short of a mile one day in our pool.
Today, at age 83, I try to swim at least three times a week. At Hilton Head and Clemson, I swim at the Rec Centers and in Maine, I swim at a wonderful pool in Wiscasset. Once in awhile, I swim in the Atlantic Ocean and each summer the ocean water gets warmer.
Swimming has changed my life, both physically and mentally. As my father said so many years ago, ‘There is no better exercise …’