Now that my swimming lessons are over, I would like to rave a bit about it. It might sound too dramatic for others who were fortunate enough to learn how to swim at an early age, but for one who had always been bereft of opportunities, this is a big achievement.
I never learned to swim as a kid because being thrown into deep waters doesn’t really seem to be that effective for us in this branch of the family, nor had any of my parents considered it essential in life. So, when I finally heard of this place in Makati where they conduct swimming lessons, I just had to do it.
The Makati Aquatic Sports Arena, or better-known as MASA, is located at West Rembo, across the University of Makati. The coaching staff is from the Makati Skipjacks Swim Club. They offer swimming lessons for P4,000 for 10 hours for non-Makati residents. This already includes the entrance fee to MASA so one would only have to say “I’m with the skipjacks” at the gate to be shown in.
However, before I was able to start with my classes, several things were required of me:
- swimsuit – preferably one-piece
- swim cap
- kickboard (I no longer bought this)
- fit-to-swim medical certificate
- photo for the Skipjacks’ files
I started last February but only ended this month because of several cancellations both from my part and theirs as well. I could not go to several sessions because I went out-of-town or because it found it very hard to get up and attend my really early classes. Since I am not a Makati resident, going to Masa is really inconvenient. I have to get up really early and leave at least an hour and a half to be able to get there on time. Plus, I have to walk through the Guadalupe Market to get to the Pateros jeep terminal. But that’s all, actually. MASA is just along the main road and there’s a 7-11 store nearby where I could get my water before I start with my class. But really, getting up really early is very, very difficult.
Anyway, other times when my sessions were canceled were because the pool had to be used for the local government’s swim team practice, or there’s a local competition there as sponsored by the mayor, etc. Since MASA is a public pool, I think anyone can really use it anytime. And the local government really gets first dibs when it comes to reservations. But that’s just fine with me.
So, my coach is this chubby tomboy(-ish?) who was years younger than me. It’s a bit unnerving to have your own coach call you ate all the time. She’s pretty nice however, but I really don’t like it when she would insist that we meet earlier than 9am. Nine o’clock is already very trying for me, so going there even earlier is really just asking for too much… But aside from that, she’s pretty cool.
I would no longer detail my individual classes because I’d like to jump into my last one. This last session was headed by this other head coach who is also really cool. She gave really good pointers on how to streamline my form so I could go faster in the water. She was also very nice as to teach some bonus strokes like backstroke and breaststroke. Level 1 is supposedly only about freestyle but she’s generous in that sense. Plus, she taught us how to dive. That is really cool. I can now dive from the side of the pool then freestyle about 25 meters. But the real goal of Level 1 is to freestyle the entire length of the Olympic-size pool without stopping at any point.
And I did it! I swam 50m non-stop, freestyling all the way. It was a real shining moment. I would’ve tried to continue on, had I been able to perfect my tumble-turn, but no, I wasn’t. But in any case, I am still very proud of myself. I could only hope to replicate this feat over and over so that one day, I might be able to join an aquathlon.
And when that happens, I just might try learning how to ride a bike…Makati Aqua Sports Arena West Rembo, Makati Tel. No. 8815941 Tues-Sun, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Skipjacks Coach Jinky: 0908 302 1550