Welcome to the Art of Swimming online magazine!
I am a Shaw Method swimmer: Ann Hubble
Ann Hubble grew up in Dudley, England in the 1930s and 40s. There were no swimming lessons at school and only one (very cold and unwelcoming) public swimming pool in the area. Eventually at age 13 her father booked her into lessons every day whilst on holiday and she began to swim…
Did you swim as an adult? In my 20s I would go once a week with a friend. We did the “duchess breaststroke” – the head up variety – which was good because we could have a chat! Then later on I took all of my many children to lessons. At the same time I developed a very bad back. I don’t think it was caused by my swimming technique, but it wasn’t helped by it. So apart from a bit of fun in the pool during my time as a brownie helper, I gave up swimming.
What attracted you to Shaw Method? About eight years ago I read about it in a magazine. The article talked about keeping your back long in the crawl and I thought that sounded good. I already had an awareness that when I stood up properly my back didn’t ache. I also think that deep down I must have wanted to get back into the water.
What were your first impressions? I went to a crawl workshop with Steven Shaw and I must admit that I thought I would emerge after the day as an extremely proficient crawl swimmer. Wrong! However, it did motivate me to get more lessons and practice.
How do find swimming now? Shaw Method has opened up a whole new world of strokes. I have now attempted – I wouldn’t say mastered – all four strokes. I particularly love the backstroke and that’s one I do regularly. I would never have attempted that on my own. I also realised that I can put my face in the water without feeling terrified. And I love the fun of it. The lessons usually include a bit of fun at the end – doing surface dives, handstands etc. Now when I practise in the pool I always like to incorporate some messing around. It’s great that I can have some fun in the water with my 16-year-old grandson too.
What advice would you give to other over 50s thinking of taking up or going back to swimming? Get taught properly. The books and DVDs are good, but you can’t take them to the pool with you.