I finally signed the little ones up for swimming lessons at the local Aquatic Park. I meant to do this years ago – but, as you know – life happens, so it didn’t happen until now. The day finally came, and although the kids were staying with their mom this weekend, they requested that I be present (Yay! Happy to oblige!).
I had no worries that Everjean would be 100% rarin’ to go. She loves the water as much as her older sister Veda (who was actually BORN in the water) and spends most of her free time in our hot-tub, with her toys, in goggles no less.
Enzo, the cautious one, is a bit apprehensive about most new things and swimming lessons were no exception. Luckily, his mom gave him a great pep talk in the morning prior and he seemed pretty excited.
We arrived at the aquatic park and stepped in to the gigantic pool area to find the earlier lessons winding down. When the time came for the next session, Enzo and Everjean joined their group with a few girls of similar age – along their swim instructor who looked to be in his late teens or early twenties (I thought he looked a bit like Dave Franco, if that helps with visualization).
The lesson started off great. They were smiling, kicking around in the water and having a great time — but then…
The ONE thing I had assured Enzo of a few days before was that he wouldn’t have to worry about going underwater. I had told him that there was absolutely no way the instructor would ask them to submerge for their first lesson. It just wouldn’t happen, right?? Well, WRONG! The very first task they were asked to complete was dunking their faces.
The rest of the class seemed ok with it… but not Enzo. The worry on his face showed, and the tears started to come down when it was his turn to swim around with the instructor. He remained brave though – and stuck with it through the motions.. and through the tears — The instructor seemed very patient as he guided Enzo through the water. I was impressed that Enzo managed to hold it together through numerous other swimming tasks until the end of the lesson came.
When Enzo left the water, he stuck his head in my chest and the tears flowed again. I calmed him down in the locker room however, and I think he ended up feeling proud that he stuck with it until the end.
Growing up, like Enzo, I feel I was a bit timid about many things. The water wasn’t one of those things though. I remember how proud I was of myself that I could tread water for an hour+ when I was 10 years old (I think it made me feel like Magnum PI in that one episode where he’s stuck in the ocean and has to stay afloat while sharks are circling him).
On weekends, my family spent a ton of time on Lake Merwin, so I was always on the water and was swimming from a very early age – so it was always second nature to me. The only time I’ve ever been afraid of the water was when I got stuck in a rip tide at Indian Beach while surfing — and almost got carried out to sea (a story for another time).
Still, I’m going to get Enzo back into the water next week. It can only get better, right? I know he loves the water, but he likes it on his own terms, without someone telling him what to do (specifically when they tell him to go underwater). I’m hoping the instructor does more ABOVE the water instruction to begin with next time – but I do feel it’s important to not be afraid of the water – and I think that’s what the dunking aims to teach – straight away.
Anyone have any tips for a young, timid swimmer?