How a dreaded swimming class changed a 10-year-old boy's life | KNKX

How a dreaded swimming class changed a 10-year-old boy's life

May 18, 2019

This story originally aired on April 28, 2018.   

When Seattle writer, Tim Haywood was growing up in Auburn, he was the fat kid in elementary school. Most of the time, this wasn’t a problem, except for when it came to gym class.

"I got teased a lot, you know all of the names, fatty two-by-four. I managed to compensate a little bit. I developed a sense of humor," Tim recalls.


Tim dreaded gym. He was humiliated on "weighing and measuring day," when his weight was shared publicly in front of his classmates. Then, as if things couldn't get any worse, the class started a new unit that involved swimming.

For a 10-year-old loath to expose his chest without a shirt and who didn't know how to swim, this expereince was utterly mortifying.

After being relegated to the beginners group, Tim had to get out of the pool. It wasn't as easy as hopping in.

"I wasn't able to use my arms to lift myself out of the water and on to my knees, on the side. So I just sort of put a knee up and slapped my chest on the ledge and kinda squirmed up. And I kinda slithered myself sideways, like a walrus sunning itself a little bit."

Tim's classmates giggled and pointed at him.

"And I was just like, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I wanted to cease to exist. I wanted to die."


In this story, learn how Tim made a promise to himself to never let this happen to him again, and how he still relies on the grit of his 10-year old self.