Current Students

Vignesh: Lessons learned at a swimming pool

DSC_3184 (3)Vignesh Devanathan is a Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) participant from India studying web application development at Edmonds Community College. In this post, Vignesh shares some important lessons he learned at the Lynnwood recreational center.

My name is Vignesh Devanathan from India, one of the hottest countries in the world. My city is Pondicherry which is situated in the Southeast of India. South India is hotter than North India. My state’s average temperature is 33 to 37 degrees celsius.

When I was in India, I used to go to the beach and a nearby well with friends to cool off.  I had never been in a swimming pool before I came to the U.S. When I first arrived in the U.S., the weather was too cold to go swimming. Additionally, the water at beaches is too cold even in the summer. Here, even if you want to cool off with at the beach, it is like the water is saying, “I am so cold do not get in to me otherwise you will get cold and fever.”

My friend Rajesh and I always think about the fact that there is no place to swim and relax IMG_2313 (2)in the Lynnwood area.  We went to a nearby city called Bellevue and visited a park at a beach there. We admired the beauty of the water and we wanted to get into the water, but we could not do that for the same reason, it was too COLD.

Then we remembered that during our first month in the U.S., we did an activity at Lynnwood Civic Center and they told us about a recreational center, but we did not care about this recreational center at the time because we were so new here. Some months passed, then my friend said, “Why don’t we try the recreational center?”  I said, “Of course why not let’s try!” So, we made a plan to go to recreational center that next week.

We took bus 196 and we arrived at the bus stop in front of Fred Meyer. The recreational center is about a 10 minute walk from there. We were so surprised that the rec center turned out to be so close to where we have been many times.

IMG_0995The first surprise for us is price of the pool. It is only $5, which was more affordable than we expected. In India, the price at a swimming pool is quite expensive for an average person. It is not something we could afford on a weekly basis. Even more surprising was the fact the pool water is very clean and there are different varieties of pools depending upon the age of the swimmers.

Before I start say anything else, I should tell you that I do not know how to swim… that is crazy huh? My friend Rajesh knows how to swim.

We got tickets and changed into our bathing suits. We were ready to get into the water and it felt so good because it was not cold and dirty water.

There are two different pools. The main pool is for swimming and the other is for playing with slides and water-gaming equipment. First we enjoyed the main pool and I just tried to learn a little by watching my friend swim. In the main pool, they have different depths for the experts and those still learning.

My friend said he wanted to try the diving board which goes into 12 foot-depth, and he did so successfully. Here, I made a bigIMG_1005 (2) mistake. I knew that it was 12 feet deep and I knew that I cannot swim from there, but my instincts made me do it.  I jumped from the diving board and hit the water and then what? Yes, I was sinking in to the water. I was trying to escape from the water, but I could not.

Luckily a lifeguard came and rescued me and I am very thankful for that. I was conscious so they did not need to do first aid or CPR. After the lifeguard rescue me, I asked my friend “Why did you not come to save me, man?” He replied, “I know how to swim, but not how to save someone. If I came to save you, we would sink together. Is that okay for you?” After a few minutes, we both laughed and continued having fun at the pool.

There are two main reasons that I am sharing this experience:

  1. Good experience: Once you discover the things you enjoy, do them. It will make you feel good and provide relaxation from this stressful world. Whenever I go to the swimming pool, I am inspired by different people and how they are with their families and helping each other.
  2. Bad experience: If you do not know how to do something that other people can do, do not feel guilty and do not rush into it. It could be dangerous. Spend your time practicing to reach your goal, you will get there one day. This is what I learned from my experience at the pool.

To follow up, I continue to go to the swimming pool once a week and my friend is helping me learn to swim gradually. My goal is to be able to swim by the end of the year.

The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.

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