Fly With Two Arms


I had heard of the butterfly stroke from watching the Summer Olympics.  It looked really hard!  The seniors on the team all knew how to fly.  Some did it better than others. Today at practice it was going to be our turn to learn how to fly. 

“Okay guys here’s what the butterfly stroke looks like.”  Mrs. Sayor called over one of the OAC students who was in her final year at Dunbarton.  She was also a guard at the pool, I knew her from when I had my lessons.  I wonder if she knew Janette.  There was not time to ask her right now.  Jolene dunked under the red and white buoy line and waved good morning.  “Jolene can you stand and show us the arm movements for the butterfly stroke please.”  Mrs. Sayor asked her.

Jolene put her arms above her head and did a shape kind of like key hole above her head.  Then she pulled her arms down in front of her body then flicked her hands out to her sides at her hips and back up to her head.  “Thanks Jolene.  Now how does the kick part work?”

Jolene did a wonky looking dolphin kick standing up with the arm movements.  One kick when her hands were at the top of her head, and one kick when her hands were at the bottom by her hips.  “Super job!  Thanks Jolene!  Can you show us please what it looks like all put together swimming it?  Everyone out of the water so you can see the stroke from above.  Jolene go to the end of the lane and push-off.”

I hopped out onto the deck wanting to see good.  As I did not have my glasses on, so I needed to concentrate.  “See how Jolene does a good push-off doing the dolphin kick under the water then comes up for air?  She times her breathing with her hands.  First her hands are at her hips when she kicks and then dives her head and hands in the water at the same time for the second kick.  This stroke takes practise and timing.  I’m sure you’ll all get it by the end of the month.”  Mrs. Saylor looked at me and smiled.  What did she know that I didn’t know?

Back in our lane we went and attempted this new stroke called butterfly or fly for short.  “That’s it Aime!  Good strong dolphin kick!”  Mrs. Sayor gave me a thumbs up and smiled.  I smiled back, yet I did not like this stroke at all!

The month had flown by and we had one of our fist swim meets to go too.  I was very excited to wear my team suit for the first time.  It fit perfectly.  “Okay guys, the list of what events you are swimming will be taped up near where we will be sitting.  Sit all together as a team please when we get there.”  Ms. Len said to all of us on the bus.

The change room was packed!  Now I knew why the seniors changed into their suites before getting onto the bus!  Yikes!  So many girls in a change room, it was jam-packed!  I sighed a relief when I got out onto the pool deck in my new team suit and jacket for our team.  Mum had bought it as well as our long sleeve t-shirts that said Dunbarton Swim Team on it.

I found the team and then the list of what events and who was swimming what.  “Oh no!”  I thought to myself when I saw the list.  Jr Girls 50m fly had my name on it!  ‘No, no-no!”  I said out loud. 

“Yes, yes, yes!”  Mrs. Sayor appeared beside me smiling at me.  “You can do this.  You have a great kick.”

“Ya, but my arms, not so much!”  I replied to Mrs. Sayor.

“You’ll do great.”  She responded.

When it was my time to go to my event to race the 50m fly I stepped up to the blocks.  The starter called for attention and on your mark.  I bent down lunging backwards gripping the front of the blocks.  The gun went off “Crack!” I dove into the water and dolphin kicked like crazy, got my arms and legs in time and charged down the lane in the fist 25m.  It was a good thing that I hit the wall with both hands (if you didn’t you were disqualified).  Turning and pushing off again, came up for air yet I had no gas left in my arms.  I did one arm fly to the other end of the pool.  Tired and sad I got out of the water.  I wanted to finish with both arms. 

I knew something was not right when I saw both Ms. Len, and Mrs. Sayor coming over to me as I walked to our team area.  “Aime you know you were disqualified right?”  Mrs. Sayor looked at me with a smile, and a bit of concern too.  “You need to fly with both arms at all times.”  She finished her sentence.  Ms. Len also smiled asking “What happened, are you okay?”

“I’m sorry Ms. Len, and Mrs. Sayor.  I had no gas left in my arms to finish with both, so I did one arm.  I’ll remember for next time if I’m in a fly event again.”  I could feel my face getting red, even though I was wet from the water dripping down my face from my hair.

“Okay, we’ll build up your strength in your arms and shoulders too.  It will be okay.  We’re not mad, just concerned that something happened to your shoulder when you hit the wall.”

Nope!  I thought, my shoulder was fine!

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