Once upon a time, when BabyBat was still a preschooler, she began swimming lessons. The first go-round went pretty well. She adored her instructor, a high school senior who had just gotten her lifeguard certification that spring. Except for the bit about submerging for 3 seconds. BabyBat was terrified. No amount of coercion could get her head under the water. So we repeated the beginning class another time.
The next instructor was awful. We ended the class when she held BabyBat’s head under the water for 3 seconds. So the class could all advance. Yeah.
We tried one more class. Same problem with holding her head underwater. I think I gave in and blew off the remaining classes. That’s how things stood for about…4 years.
In the meantime, she began hanging out with swimmers. Two birthday parties at the local pool, a vacation spent with her cousins (who swim very well) and a couple of trips to the lake changed her mind. We had also been talking about having her do a sport in addition to band this year (one athletic thing, one arts-related thing). So this was going to be her sport.
She was terrified that she’d be the oldest kid in the class (she was) and that she’d be surrounded by toddlers (she wasn’t). The instructor was a laid-back high school guy. He started out by asking the kids what kind of experience they’d had. BabyBat told him about her earlier experiences. He listened.
The kids did some submerging. Even BabyBat. They also did supported and unsupported floats, flutter kicks while he dragged each one around on a kickboard, and arm and leg exercises to get them ready for the backstroke. She tried everything. Her flutter kicks are pretty damn good, and if she can put her head back she’ll have the back float down.
She was a little tired when they were done. But she did agree to go back next week. So that’s better than it had been.