In answer to “Can you swim?”

I can swim like a fish!  I learned when I was in the 6th grade, at the Boys Club in Union, New Jersey.

We weren’t the kind of family that spent time going swimming in the summer, whch was probably because my mother couldn’t swim.  Maybe it was because my father, sister, or brother couldn’t swim, either.  Seriously, the whole family swam like rocks, and I didn’t like the idea.

I pestered my mother into letting my join the Boy’s Club, and I immediately signed up for swimming lessons. I took to the water instantly, mostly because of our teacher, whose name was Larry Herrighty.  Larry was great, and made everyone laugh alot, and did things that made everyone comfortable, and forget that we were actually learning (sound familiar?).

I progressed through the ranks until I was awarded the title “Swimmer”, which mean that I could swim in any depth of the pool with strength and confidence in my ability to keep myself from drowning.  As happy as I was with this, I didn’t stop.  I went on to be certified as a Junior Lifeguard.  I regularly played water polo.  I was a Boy Scout and earned my Mile Swim badge.  I turned 17 and became fully certified as a Red Cross Lifeguard.  I was on the club’s swim team.

I could swim!

It gets even better… when I was 17, I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  At boot camp, during our swimming qualifications (all Marines are expected to able to swim at least a little), there were only two recruits (out of nearly 250) in our series who earned the Water Safety qualification: Me and a Puerto rican kid.

I can swim in rivers, pools, lakes, even in the ocean, without fear or worry.