I was flicking back through my blog, and came across my swimming posts. There are a lot, but if you’ve a baby, toddler or older child who’s struggling or want some clarity about children’s swimming lessons, do check them out. They cover a lot of struggles and the journey we went through, to N being a good technical swimmer who can swim a bit of distance, and who enjoys being in a swimming pool. Looking back, I realised how much I miss N’s swimming lessons.
They came to an abrupt end before we expected them to due to Covid closures. He would have been likely to finish lessons in the summer as we’d agreed anyway. But having stopped so suddenly after having been at classes pretty much weekly since he was 4 months old, it was a shock.
I’m probably in a minority of parents who enjoy watching children’s swimming lessons (and his tennis lessons). Especially once you know they enjoy swimming and can sort themselves out in the changing room. I could sit there with a book, but really I watched most of the lesson.
Sports lessons nowadays are so different to when I was a child. Back then, you got told a brief out of pool demo of a stroke and then told to get in and get on with it. Now it’s all built up from practising the component parts which makes for much better technique and more proficient swimmers.
I always found the lessons interesting to watch, how the teachers kept the children interested as they moved through the levels. How different the teachers were, and what they focused on most. And how N interacted with the teacher and the different children as their classes change and they move up through the stages.
The Saturday before lockdown 1 started, N was told he’d passed stage 6 and the instructor was moving him up to stage 7. He was already in a mixed level 6/7 class, so it wouldn’t be any different. He’d been able to see how much better technically he was at front crawl and breaststroke compared with most of the others, although his strength and power was lower. Not surprising given he was 1-2 school years younger than all the other children in the lesson, and a lot smaller too. But he’d held his own, and I was so pleased at how fast he’d progressed once he’d hit level 4. He’d moved up from stage 5 to 7 in just over a year.
We’d always agreed that he could stop lessons at stage 5, mainly because he was at that point also doing school swimming. But I backtracked as he moved up faster than I was planning. So the agreement was he’d go til the end of Year 5.
That changed with lockdown, and although he’s not looked back, probably not even thinking about swimming, I’m sad that he’s now done with swimming lessons.
I suppose he’ll get swimming at secondary school at some point, and maybe a bit of leisure swimming in year 6 assuming next school year gets back to normal, post the vaccine roll out (fingers crossed). But I don’t want him to lose his technique and stamina for swimming. It also helped his tennis strength and gave him other muscles to use, rather than it just being those used for tennis.
When swimming pools opened up we didn’t get to the pool – restricted hours, and lane swimming only. He could have gone to lane swimming, but at a 50 metre pool when you’ve not swum for a while and are young, it is a daunting pool size when you’re used to 25 metres.
Maybe in future, we’ll try and get back to general swimming sessions in a quiet pool to get in some practice. And hopefully, before he shoots up in height and therefore has a long enough stroke to beat me in races!
Are you missing your children’s activities or sports sessions? How did you feel when they gave up or finished them?
Missing the kids activities? Oh yes, big time, especially gymnastics, although it has moved online (not the same though). That said, my kids swimming lessons stopped a while ago. Both are strong swimmers but I do worry about on going pool closures. Aside from a couple of days spent a t he seaside over summer, they haven’t really been swimming a year. I bet COVID will lead to a generationof kids with poor swimming lessons.
Same with N. I guess they don’t lose the technique, but it’s the worry that he’ll still have the confidence without having the practice if he does get into trouble. Fingers crossed that will never happen, and he’ll still have the muscle memory. But yes, our school does year 2-4 swimming. N’s year group was too big for all to go all year, so they each had a 1/2 term off. But the ones in younger years either haven’t started or missed a whole year of their allocation as school didn’t start back in Sept due to concerns about the number of schools using the pool on the day before them, and not being able to swim/travel to the pool in bubbles.