A few weeks ago, I linked back to one of my old posts. While doing so, I stumbled across this post. I couldn’t remember exactly what it was about from the title, apart from the obvious: “swimming”. So I read it again.
WOW. So much has changed in 4 years! When I wrote that post, Ethan couldn’t swim, and I was worried about him.
Now, he is an amazing swimmer (and so is his brother).
A few months after writing that post, Ethan started formal swimming lessons. He quickly moved his way up through all the levels over the next 2 years, becoming proficient in freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. After he graduated from Swim School a couple of years ago, we gave him the option of joining a swimming squad. He chose not to. I quietly breathed a sigh of relief, because squad training is intense (several training sessions per week, often at 6am. No thanks). Despite no longer having/needing lessons, his swimming has continued to improve. He is particularly good at backstroke, and he’s FAST. He reached the finals at his school swimming sports both this year and last, coming 3rd overall in the boys’ backstroke.
Ethan has also been playing Flippaball (junior water polo) every Sunday for the past year. His excellent swimming ability has really helped him to play well, and will be even more useful next year when he moves up to water polo (deeper water, can’t touch the bottom).
This is his team (who were undefeated until last Sunday):
Tyler started swimming lessons about 18 months ago, and he has seriously rocketed through all the levels. He was only in the first class for 2 weeks before being moved up, and then graduated from that level after only 1 term. He’s now in Swim 6, which is the highest level. He’s a good 2 years younger than most of the other kids in his class (but a similar height!). I expect he’ll graduate from Swim School soon. When he does, he is keen to start playing Flippaball as well. He could have started already, but I said he had to wait. I can’t afford to pay for swimming lessons AND Flippaball, not with all the other activities he does (Hip Hop, soccer and athletics).
The kids do swimming at school in Term 1 every year, but the pool is (outside, and) quite small/shallow. The school books out the pool at our local Leisure Centre for their annual swimming sports carnival, but that’s only for Year 5 and 6 students. So Tyler has another 18 months to wait, but we are pretty sure he’ll do well when the time comes! He has really good technique, and is gradually starting to get faster as well.
The most important thing to me was that my boys knew how to swim for safety reasons. After all, we live on a big island! There are beaches all around us, particularly in the area we live. Our local beach is just a few minutes’ walk from our house, and there are lots of other beaches in very close proximity. We spend SO much time at the beach during summer. They can’t (and don’t want to!) avoid the water, so they need to be safe. I’m so glad they are.
It’s definitely amazing to look back at how far they have both come in recent years. In retrospect, I think the key was waiting until they were keen to learn. Because they were so enthusiastic about it, they picked it up in no time. I don’t regret not dragging them to swimming lessons every week as toddlers, for a few reasons. 1. I’d have spent SO much (more) money on lessons, and 2. I think they would have taken longer to learn, probably finishing at the same time as they ended up finishing anyway! Of course, some kids love going to swimming lessons from an early age, which is fantastic. My boys were just far more interested in playing than learning, so waiting was the right option for our family.
One thing is for sure: I’d have a hard time keeping up with both of them in the water nowadays!
* Matchbox Twenty