“Let's Go Swimming!”


(Basic Speech 05 – Your Body Speaks / Competent Communication Manual, May 17, 2006, ON Semi-Clinic)


INTRODUCTION

Think summer.  When we talk of summer vacation and outings here in the Philippines, many would think of the three S’s… and sex isn’t one of them.  It’s “sand, sea and the sun” – the beach!  And how do we cool off?  By swimming or taking a cool dip in the water.  It’s definitely fun going swimming, especially if you do know how to swim.  For me, I took up swimming lessons at a very late age – only 6 years ago.  But lately, I’ve been learning and relearning.  Why this new found enthusiasm for swimming?  Three things: One, I realized swimming can be a lifelong activity.  Two, swimming could save your life (knock on wood).  And three, it’s fun!

A LIFELONG ACTIVITY

As a lifelong activity, swimming is easy on the joints like the knees, hips, and elbows.  But it’s good enough for a great cardio workout.It’s the kind of activity that you can do well into your 50’s, 60’s or maybe 70’s.  Can you say the same for basketball, tennis or badminton where there’s plenty of running, jumping and even falling?  Maybe not.  Swimming is so gentle on the body that it’s great for those who have had back injuries. 

Two years ago, I suffered a back sprain when I attempted some heavy deadlifts at home.  Do you know what deadlifts are?  Anybody knows?  A deadlift is a weight training exercise for the lower back and the legs.  In this exercise you could carry the most weight. How’s it done?  Well, imagine you have a barbell on the floor.  Bend your knees like this.  Put your arms on the bar and pull upwards by straightening the legs like this.  Then, lower the bar.  That’s a deadlift.  But on that day, 2 years ago, I probably felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger when I put more weight than I could lift.  The good news is I was able to lift the barbell.  The bad news is I felt an intense pain in my lower back after putting it down.  The resulting sprain required me to undergo back rehabilitation sessions for 6 weeks.  Rehab meant hot compresses, ultrasound and therapy exercises.  Finally, the rehab doctor recommended swimming as exercise.  It has been my resolve then to take up swimming as a lifelong activity.

IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

Swimming can save your life.  Do you remember the ill-fated MV Doña Paz way back in 1987?  It’s the biggest maritime disaster in the world in recent history where 4,500 lives perished.  Or how about the Bocaue Pagoda Tragedy where a pagoda structure in a fluvial parade collapsed in the Wawa river killing 270 people in 1993.  Or how about a more recent event, just last January of this year in Leyte?  A big motorized banca in a Sto. Niño procession tilted to its side and capsized. More than 20 people died.  This banca was only 200 meters away from the shore.

Sure, many would readily point at overloading and negligence of public officials as the real culprit.  But observers note that many passengers would have survived had they known how to swim.  A foreign correspondent for BBC News once wrote in an article that “Victims of Philippine ferry disasters often die for the simplest reason. They do not know how to swim.” (long pause)  Yes, (smile) you don’t have to be a drowning statistic.

SWIMMING IS FUN

Swimming is fun!  We live in a country where the weather is sunny and pleasant for many months of the year.  We have a coastline so long that there’s abundant opportunities for water activities.  Inland, we have the resorts, the hot springs. There’s no expensive equipment or special attire required.  You don’t need special rubber shoes, racquets or balls.  No.  Just swimming trunks and goggles and you’re set. 

There’s so much to learn and master in swimming.  There’s the four competitive strokes: freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke and many variations of the survival strokes like the dog paddle, the sidestroke, the elementary backstroke.  Swimming will boost your confidence to take up other water sports as well, like surfing, windsurfing, scuba, snorkeling, wakeboarding, bodysurfing and so many others.  For me, swimming is just like bicycling.It’s one of those things that takes lots of effort to learn, but the rewards are enormous.

CONCLUSION

So those are the big three reasons for me: it’s a lifelong activity, it could save your life and it’s fun.  In this country, we are blessed with wonderful weather practically the whole year and that makes outdoor activities even more appealing.  No freezing winters, no snow to contend with.  This country is blessed with beautiful beaches and resorts that refresh and recharge the weariest souls.  So, tara na!  Let’s go swimming!