My wife thought my breaststroke was a joke | Romesh Ranganathan


Romesh Ranganathan

She offered to teach me but it’s difficult to say things like, ‘Well done, you’re kicking your legs really well!’ without sounding a bit patronising

I cannot swim very well. This is something that I have had to come to terms with in the last couple of weeks, and I have been contemplating how best to deal with it. When I was a child, I was a great swimmer. My mum booked me regular lessons, and I remember her watching from up in the gallery as I earned my 50-metre swimming badge. I demanded it be sewn on to my trunks immediately, so other swimmers seeing me in the pool would know that I hadn’t come to play: I had once swum 50 metres.

I remember swimming a lot as a kid, and finding it very easy, so it was hardwired into my self-image that I was a strong swimmer. This did not diminish as I went through adult life very much trying to avoid swimming as it involved showing my body in public – something I have always been allergic to, despite the fact that every travel show I have done required me to remove my top. For some reason, however, I always assumed I’d stay on 50-metre badge-winning form for the rest of my life.

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