Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Swimming Lessons

B on the far left -daily  pre-swim class meeting.
 The last couple years we've taken swimming lessons off and on at the Y.  B usually takes a few months a year, often between soccer seasons and in the summer.  M began taking lessons last summer and was a little young and scared.  Y lessons are twice a week in the evenings and this often feels intense during the school year with all we have going on.  This summer, I signed M & B up for four weeks of four-day a week swimming lessons outside at Pelican Bay.
M on far right in pink
 I was worried that four days a week might be too much, but it was actually a nice routine to start each day with 8:40 lessons.  The pool is nearly 20 minutes across town, which isn't ideal, but it is perfect to have all levels of swimming classes at once.  I noticed that most of the families at these lessons have at least three kids and very few have only 1 as this is so convenient for bigger familesl.
B in the back center with blue goggles.
 M worked mostly on floating, diving for rings, kicking, and a little bit of scooping practice. In session 1, B did floating on front and back, swimming on front and back and diving for rings.  In session two, his class focused more on diving, treading water, four strokes, and improving technique for things like side- breathing.
B and his L2 class he is in the center
There was also at least five minutes of games or play time at the end of every day, some racing, and assorted silliness which I definitely approve of ).
M, in pink, climbing out of the water. 
There were some problems, of course,  B's L3 class had 12 people in it with one teacher, which was really too many.  She did her best, but there was lots of waiting around.  During one of those periods, B somehow chipped his tooth on the wall.  B's L2 class had lots of teaching switches, in part due to being the first session.  After being told he could move up in the first day, he was later told he hadn't passed and would have to repeat due to some technicality about how he dove for a ring in the test at the end.  Ultimately, he did move on to L3 without repeating, but it was frustrating. The first session had lots of days rained out, but we really can't complain about actually having rain :)

 On free play days, I love that they found each other and would check in to see if the other was OK.  Here M is in the life jacket and B in the background.  Both loved swimming in the lazy river.  B liked the vortex as well, but M was too little.

E and I watched from this vantage point the first two weeks.  Some of that time he was in the stroller and couldn't walk due to his foot burn.  

 In the second session we sat on the side as B's class was now in a place we couldn't see well from the front.  We did a lot more walking around the second session.  Also, jumping in puddles as you can see from the water shoes we started wearing when everything was getting wet.  I gave him snacks only on the day pictured because he, of course, immediately spilled them.
 E did adopt towel duty and was firmly in charge of handing out towels to M & B when they emerged from the pool.
M on center right, B towards the back on free-play day #2
The last day of class, M bravely tried to swim out to the dinosaur.  It is chained in water that is 3ft. 6in deep and only people under 4ft are allowed to climb on it. The problem, of course, is that people under 4 feet tall can barely stand in that depth of water, and have a hard time hauling themselves on to the dino without touching the bottom.  Sigh.  She did hang on a bit, but barely was able to swim herself back to the stairs.  B was nearby and I got him to give her a bit of a push.  Her heart was beating fast when she emerged, but I'm so proud of her for making it on her own and not panicking/drowning.  There was a lifegard right in front of her during this struggle to the edge, but he was, of course, filling out swim lesson evaluations and paying no attention even if she had needed him.
Happy as a clam and still in need of a few more lessons :)
For the first 14 days of swimming lessons (only 12 of which he attended) E was very good about staying on the side.  He walked around a bit, but I never felt like he was going to try to jump in. On the 15th day, I had to all but hold him bodily out of the water.  He would walk right up to the edge of the side or the stairs or wherever, and SO SO SO wanted in.  Thankfully, he will be old enough for his own lessons just a few weeks in to next summer and yes, we plan to do this again.  The kids loved it and I enjoyed it too.  It was peaceful and cool, which might in part be because we had a cooler wetter start to summer.  

Now that lessons are over, we're trying to keep them in a pool somewhere at least twice a week for a bit more practice and a lot more fun!  I'm not sure if we'll do swimming lessons during the year as B has lots of plans for himself already and M is being wildly indecisive about what, if anything, she wants to do.  If nothing else, we'll always have summer beckoning with more to learn and love. 

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