It’s been a while since I shared a swimming post. N is still swimming both in group lessons as the local pool, and at school (at the same pool). He’s lucky because his school take them swimming from year 2 to year 4, so they have a good 3 years of weekly swimming lessons, much more than many of my friends’ children get at their schools.
N isn’t the fastest at learning to swim. He’s been through baby and toddler classes with Water Babies, and has been swimming since he was 4, with the swimming school he’s in now. It’s been a slog to get him to swim at all without floats, and now we’re trying to get the front distance up.
Having had a year where he really hated being in the pool and moaned through every lesson from age 1-2 years old, then being a bit ambivalent about it, thankfully now he loves swimming. And we’re really seeing progress. Going twice a week has helped no end, which we can see compared to one of his swimming friends who he used to be in Water Babies with who was well ahead of him when they graduated.
It’s been lovely to see them progress through the stages together. She has the determination to achieve her distance badges though, while N just aims to slightly better last times. Last term he was really excited and ready to try for his 25 metres on his front (he’s been able to do it on his back a year ago), but they didn’t do a badge swim week. So it’s back to practising and building on the determination for next time.
I’ve often said that N isn’t competitive. I have to adjust that slightly, because I do see flashes of competitiveness on occasion. It’s on his terms. N’s a watcher. He’ll look, and assess. In swimming we can see it – if they’re doing a race or even just widths, if he looks as he swims and thinks he’s in with a chance of winning, it’ll kick in and he’ll give everything. Even coming from behind. But if he doesn’t think he can do it, he’ll just mooch along in his own little world.
This term, he’s moved up to stage 4 swimming, with 2 of the girls also moving up. The last 6 months he’s been the strongest consistent swimming across the group. So I was expecting he’d struggle to keep up with the older children and those who’ve been in stage 4 for a while. But straight away he was on a mission to show what he could do. He and the other girl from his old group were way ahead of the old guard in swimming widths, and when they started technical practice for breathing with 2 floats one arm in front and one behind, he was used as the demo for the rest of the group because he’d done it so well.
Being chosen as a demo gives him a real boost and makes me really proud. He deserves to be pulled out and get to show off a bit, because he’s the quiet child who doesn’t really pipe up in class. And it’s good he’s been noticed. Often quiet and good children can get forgotten, but with a small swimming class there’s no escaping notice which is great because they get specific feedback on what each of them need to be doing as well as enouragement.
The lesson ended up with them going into the deep end. The old lesson did but usually just for distance badge swims, and then jumping in and learning to tread water. N came out of the pool so excited that they’ll be going in the deep end more.
After such a struggle when he was younger getting him to enjoy swimming, we’ve cracked it. He loves going swimming, enjoys his lessons and he’s learning good technique as well as learning the safety part. Hopefully now he’s got his confidence and enjoying it more, he’ll progress faster.
How did your children take to swimming? What tips do you have for getting children to enjoy their swimming?
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