Milestone #1: Ditching the floatation device. It happened after almost 8 classes. I could then propel myself across the breadth of the pool, face under the water, legs straight and kicking hard, hands in front, coming up twice for air. It took me a long time to get rid of the float. What finally helped was a snide comment made by dear husband during the Amritsar trip. We were watching the lovely fish in the tank, at the Golden temple. They would come till the edge of the tank, flitting in and out of the water rapidly. S said "Don't they swim like Amma?" When I glared at him, he smiled "I meant so gracefully." Snide remarks aside, I started observing their fluid movements more closely and when I was struggling to float, I would conjure up their image in my mind and think of how they just cleaved so cleanly through the water. This kind of visualization, thinking of myself as a fish instead of a large ungainly woman thrashing about in the pool (!!) really assisted me in learning how to float.
The next challenge has been how to get across the pool without keeping my feet down on the bottom every time I came up for air. Come what may, I could not coordinate hand movements, leg-kicking and breathing all at the same time. I almost gave up after a couple of hours of fruitless work. Hunger pangs would strike me hard after a good 30 minute session! The pool closes in a couple of days and I have (kind of) managed to get across the pool very laboriously, without the hand stroke. It has been much harder than I expected and I will have to kickstart the whole process in the summer. But now I know it's do-able and my confidence has definitely improved. A major plus point if I have to exhort my risk-averse firstborn to learn swimming in a few months!