Last swim lesson of the season

Yesterday was the last swim lesson of the season for both boys. The summer lessons at the rec center don’t meet at a time that works for our family, so unless I find an alternative that does fit, they won’t get to resume swim lessons until late September. Tobin will be very sad because he just loved his swim lessons. Stephen on the other hand is very happy they are over because he hasn’t gotten what he’s wanted to out of the lessons the last few sessions.

Steve and Tobin posing before heading into the water for their last swim lesson of the spring

This spring was Tobin’s first time through level 1 classes. He had previously taken baby and preschool classes but those were more water orientation than real beginner swim lessons. Although he hasn’t passed on to level 2 yet, the little guy made quite a bit of progress this session. He learned to float on his back, doggy paddle, and push off from the side of the pool. Unfortunately, Tobin has decided those few skills are enough to qualify as actual swimming, so he tries to practice on his own when the instructors are working with the other kids. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that he is too short to stand in the water and still keep his head above water! He appears to have absolutely no fear of the water, so Ken and I spend just about every minute of his swim lessons biting our nails and edging closer and closer to the pool “just in case.”

Blowing kisses to me from the pool

Stephen passed on to level 4 swimming several sessions ago. However, he isn’t interested in learning dives or swimming in deep water, so he has been repeating level 3 which is supposed to be swim stroke development. His person goals for swimming are to build up his stamina and perfect his swim strokes, but the instructor for the current session spent a lot of time having the kids practice diving. For example, today the instructor only had the kids swim two laps in the whole 45 minute class. I don’t think she ever went over any swim strokes other than the front and back stroke all spring long either. Stephen was very disappointed with the whole experience. In the future, I will probably need to arrange for private lessons for him.

Goofing off with dad before class

Swim lessons

A few weeks from now swim lessons for both Tobin and Steve should start up again. Because the university canceled their kids’ swim program for the summer, neither of the boys have not had a lesson since the end of April. I think they are both looking forward to resuming their lessons even though the spring session was a little disappointing for them, although for different reasons.

Tobin has always enjoyed being in the pool. When we first took him to a parent/tot class a few years ago, many of the other toddlers and babies were scared and crying, but all Tobin wanted to do was run and jump into the pool over and over again. He doesn’t seem to have any fear of the water, so even now it’s actually a little scary for me to watch him have his lesson. He thinks he knows how to swim even though he doesn’t really, so the sooner he learns, the better I will feel.

During the spring swim session, Tobin had a great time, but I was displeased overall with the program that session. The class was extremely overcrowded most of the time, and there were several times when there was only one teacher instead of the three there should have been. It did not seem safe to me to have one teacher working with 12 children five and under. Tobin probably received a total of three minutes one-on-one time with the teacher for every 35 minute lesson. Even at the times when there were three teachers, they seemed very overwhelmed by both the total number of children they had to deal with at once and the high proportion of children that needed extra attention due to their fear of the water. Not surprisingly, they had no time to teach anything new to my child. The previous sessions we enrolled in did not have these particular problems, so I don’t know why it was so awful during the spring. If the coming swim session doesn’t go differently from the last one, it doesn’t seem likely that he will get anything new out of the preschool swim classes. Unfortunately, they won’t let him register for the Level 1 swimming until he turns 6.

Steve started swim lessons several years ago. Steve was so terrified during his very first lesson that I thought he was going to refuse to ever get into the pool again. I was so pleasantly surprised when the next week rolled around, and he excitedly asked me when he could go back. Although he has never been as confident in the water as Tobin is, Steve has slowly worked his way up to Level 4. (There are two levels left after this one.) At first he seemed all right with his Level 4 classes, particularly when he realized that one of his two favorite swim instructors would be teaching the class. However, his joy quickly turned to dread when the lessons moved from refining swim strokes and building up endurance to learning to dive into the very deep water. He is not comfortable at all with diving and being in water well above his head. By about the fourth lesson, he was starting to come up with reasons why we couldn’t go to swim class that particular week. I knew that it was because he just didn’t feel comfortable, so I didn’t force the issue. Steve and I discussed it and decided that he could just re-take Level 3 swimming the next session or two or however many times it takes until he decides he is ready to tackle Level 4 again. I’m sure the extra practice on developing his swim strokes in Level 3 will not be a bad thing at all.

Steve swimming in the lazy river at the end of a lesson.

Steve swimming in the lazy river at the end of a lesson.