.his achiWhen you have children, there’re some events in their lives that really make you well up and savour those successes. For most it’s the first day at school, the last day at school, the nativity play, a great parents evening or report, or sporting achievements. All those things apply to me, but the one I’m most happy to see happen each time are N’s swimming awards and achievements.

He’s had so many ups and downs since starting swimming with water babies at 3 months old that I’m just pleased he’s enjoying swimming, and that finally he’s progressing and racking up those achievements.

It’s been painful.

From hating swimming at around 8 or 9 months old and crying every lesson for a term before we gave up and had a break. Through to starting normal children’s swimming lessons and struggling to learn to swim unaided. It’s been a long journey and one that sometimes I thought would never happen. My son certainly isn’t a natural swimmer. But he’s getting there and his achievements this week have totally surprised me.

His progress has really improved this school year helped by swimming with school as well as having Saturday lessons. It’s only an hour a week in total but having two different teachers who focus on different things and at different levels has really helped his stamina and technique come on. One teacher for his Saturday lessons very much focuses on technique well the school lesson teacher seems to focus on getting them swimming decent distances. N always moans that his Tuesday lessons are boring because they just told to swim six widths at a time. But it seems to be working as the combination has really seen him progress this year.

Badge swim

A few weeks from the end of term N’s normal swimming classes usually have a a badge swim session (they do the Rainbow Distance Awards) and this week it was it. Last time N had really psyched himself up for it and then they didn’t do one. He’s been trying for a couple of times to get to 25m on his front. His swim school only give out badges when they can do the distance on both their front and their back. Poor N can do 50m on his back but was nowhere near getting 25m on his front. However he did it in school swimming, so I knew it was on the cards for badge swim time.

As two classes are run at the same time, N’s class had one lane down the length of the pool for their badge swims. The children were either going singly or in pairs with most trying for their 50 m. N was the only one trying to get his 25. It was painful with some very dubious sideways looking front crawl moves from halfway down the pool but he did it. And said it was easy afterwards. I was so pleased with him and I bet he was so proud as he walked back down the pool to get ready for doing his backstroke lengths.

There were a couple of children who were trying 50m on their front who didn’t quite make it. These are children who have been in that class for a lot longer than N has. He only moved up at Easter to this level. They all did 50m on their backs with no problem although N did nearly crash into the line divider. That’s always a problem when the children are swimming on their backs, especially with two going in a small lane at once.

Going again

Most of the children left at the end of the class, but N and two others stayed to have a chat with the teacher. We couldn’t hear what was going on, but there was nodding going on. I was a bit confused because he definitely completed 25m on his front without stopping. Next thing I know he’s in the pool again on his front again. The other two children were doing the same.

Now they’re a bit older, the children understand that for badge swims it’s about taking it steady and not racing. A couple of them do look in agony while they’re swimming, and you wonder whether they’ll ever get to the end of the pool.

But they did and then N turned round and started swimming back the other way again. He was going for his 50m! I thought that was unrealistic given how he’s only just managed to do 25m.  He must have been exhausted trying to do the 50 at the end of a class. But he was slogging it out and was obviously determined to get his distance.

His teacher must have been confident he could do it, as she wasn’t walking alongside him with the lifeguard pole, like usually happens with children she’s not too sure about. In fact she was some way behind him in the pool encouraging the other children to keep going. I couldn’t believe that N pulled out the 50m as well as the 25m.  I definitely didn’t expect it for another term or two.

swimming certificates

Maybe N is a swimmer after all. And even better, he’s showing that if he wants something he’s going to really go and try and get it.

He seemed quite underwhelmed by achieving 2 badges. He kept saying maybe he was the only person who had ever got two badges in one class. Unlikely, but who was I to rain on his parade.

He’s already thinking about working up to 3 lengths. I had to tell him that the next distance is actually 100m. The teacher told another boy that you can only get 100m award by using correct crawl technique. So I think that one will be a bit further down the line. But you never know given what happened in this badge swim.

I’m £4.60 out-of-pocket, he’s got two certificates and two new swim badges. We need to get him a decent swim towel so we can sew all his distance badges on.

How are your children with their swimming progress? Do they enjoy swimming?

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