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Swim lessons

Both of my kids have previously had parent-child swim instruction.

In the case of my son, it was during the height of his sensory problems. Outdoors in one of our park district pools, the entire Olympic-size deck was swarming with children. His class was huge. And we stopped going after a few weeks because we would inevitably have to leave early from the screaming and crying. It wasn't worth it to force him and ruin the class for everybody else.

On the other hand, my daughter had parent-child swim--again through the park district--indoors at one of our high school's pools. Again with the crowded pool and chaos. But she loved us chasing after the rubber ducky, singing songs, and splashing around. She hated to dunk under the water, however, and the water was unusually cold for an indoor pool. So she'd end up shaking and shivering before the time was up. And, of course, no actual swim technique was presented. Plus, they were in the evening so she'd usually fall asleep in the 5 minutes it took us to drive home.

All this gave us fairly low expectations going into their new "real" swim lessons at our gym. The two of them are in the same class--which is nice. But we had visions of them never wanting to go back after the first time. Pleased to say that this wasn't the case. It's a very lowkey group...less than 10 kids. The teacher didn't do the typical bubbly routine (though they are pleasant enough) of introducing herself to all the parents like for ballet. Nope. The class just..started. No "come on over." She started teaching when the time started.

The kids stay lined up, sitting on the pool deck with legs dangling in the water. And they take turns jumping in, hanging on to the floats while the teacher pulls them, kicking, using their "scoops." It's fantastic! Actual swim instruction!

Their mom is a fish. Me? I am a hybrid "adult-onset" swimmer. Contrary to my mother's opinion, I've never been in any danger of drowning or scared of the water per se. I managed to pass my Boy Scout swim test, swamp a canoe, etc.. But it's only since starting triathlon that I can do what would count as any sort of legitimate freestyle/front crawl stroke. I consider it to have less to do with swimming and more to do with my general lack of coordination. Swimming, to me, feels an awful lot like dancing. Which I avoid at all costs. Don't ask me how I get up the hand-eye-coordination to steer a bike at 25 mph. There I'm steady.

So as my kids float on their stomachs, I'm happy to see them learning a skill--an important, necessary one in my opinion--even if I doubted very much that would be the end result. The only thing during the 30 minute session they objected to was when the teachers asked them to "Spider-Man" across the length of the pool hanging onto the wall and moving hands and feet in a sideways climb. I can understand why a 4 year old would think that was too hard. Otherwise, they're excited to be going back tomorrow. When we left they both wanted to know when the next lesson was.

Or maybe they just like the swimsuit drying machine in the locker room? Whatever works.


  1. I enjoyed reading your post and as a parent I agree that its important for children to learn to swim at a young age. I hope both of your children are doing well with their swimming lessons. It's funny how the swim suit drying machine is the highlight of the trip to the pool.

    Stella Hammond @ Palm City Pools


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