They’re Learning to Swim!

I could not be more pleased with Week One of the boys’ swim class.  They are enrolled in an intensive swim program (one hour per day for two weeks, Monday through Thursday) at Northside College Prep High School here in Chicago, and it is really wonderful.  Both of them are making excellent progress and loving every minute of it, but it was Baxter I watched the most today.

He was swimming independently, head still held just above the water (he hates water on his face) and with flippers on his feet (yes, these), across the width of the pool.  But best of all, he was smiling about it.  Smiling!

We were promised a 1:3 ratio for the class, but Baxter has a private instructor and Lyle’s instructor has just one other 3-year old in her charge.  It appears that there were more high school kids who wanted to work in the program than they anticipated.  This means that they are both swimming non-stop for the entire hour.  At first, I wondered how that would be, having teenage swim teachers, but I am completely impressed.  Baxter looks up to his 14-year old teacher with 100% awe and respect.  “He’s twice my age, Mommy!” he told me the first day, and each day since he has come home with some other fact about this slightly older boy who is actually teaching him to swim.   Their interactions are very sweet to watch.

Today I saw him allowed to swim over the lane line and into the deep end for the first time.  I watched as he glanced up at the diving board, and wondered if they’d let him jump from the diving board by the end of next week.  My eyes got a little teary at the thought, because that seemed so advanced from where this kid started on Monday.  But the next thing I knew, Baxter was sitting on the side of the pool, taking off his flippers, and shouting “MOMMY!!!” to me up in the bleachers, with an enormous grin.  Yes, he was allowed to jump from the diving board.  Today.  Here’s the proof:

He waited in line and walked to the end of the board without hesitation, jumping straight off and down into the water.  He popped right back up and started swimming.  He told me later that he was a little frightened, but that he knew his teacher was right below him.  (I mean, seriously, what could inspire more confidence than a 14-year old waiting to catch you?  Yikes!  But for Baxter, this was plenty.)

And so now I am left to wonder, what will next week bring?  I cannot wait to find out!

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13 responses to “They’re Learning to Swim!

  1. I do believe there is something about being in the pool EVERY day that fosters that learning. My guy spent nearly a year in 1x/week, 30 minute private lessons and never made a bit of progress. Last summer, pool in the backyard—it took less than a week. Hooray for both your boys!! They must feel so proud…and free!!!

  2. I agree, in the water every day is the best way to learn! I cried when Scott finally swam (and then when he re-learned 2x more!) and still count watching him jump off the diving board last summer as one of the best moments of 2007.

    Look at your kids! Bike riding and swimming! What a fabulous start to summer and a lifetime of outside fun.

  3. What a joy for the students, the teachers, and the Mommies! The photo photo of Baxter on the diving board is marvelous. 🙂

  4. Wow, those are some goosebump-inducing moments! How cool they both look in their shades, too! LOL I imagine they will continue to surprise you all summer long. 🙂

  5. Kristen and Lori, I agree. I have never seen much progress in 1x/week swim lessons – except, I should say, at La Petite Baleen Swim School in San Mateo, CA, where they use the best method I’ve ever seen…both of my kids at ages 1 and 4 were swimming independently underwater within 3 weeks! sadly, we couldn’t make it work in the schedule once Bax went to kindergarten, and those skills were lost. But at the Y or other places, no dice. (And now I’ve just seen that LPB has opened a SF branch in the Presidio and I want to die of envy!!)

    And yes, swimming and bike riding – so exciting! I had three goals for this summer for Baxter: swimming, bike riding, and shoe tying. He’s almost there with the shoes, too, and it’s only the 1st week of summer. Hooray!

    I was coming back to add to this post this morning something I forgot – when I told the boys how proud I was of them yesterday after class, Baxter said, “Well, Mommy, you should also be very proud of our teachers because they are doing a GREAT job teaching us!!” Good point, kiddo.

  6. That is AWESOME. You’re proud, they’re proud of themselves – how wonderful. And nice for you, too, so you can relax a bit when you’re down by your beach. Daniel and Noah each learn how to swim when we go to my parent’s house (and their pool!) and swim every day for a full week, and then we just don’t keep it up. Daniel still has it, but Noah continues to forget. Ah well! Summer’s here!!

  7. I love it. Way to go, kiddos. A swimming child is a happy, safe, accomplished child. There’s nothing better.

  8. Incredible! And fun! My guess for next week, riffing on the picture of B. that you put up elsehwere – gills.

  9. Aw, I love this! Miss M and Roxie are swimming, too – and when I came back from Europe, both had progressed so much while I was gone that I bawled. I love the pool you’re at, and I LOVE the student teachers! Yay you!

  10. wow- that is awesome! Isn’t it amazing to watch their confidence grow? YAY!

  11. I am glad to see the boys kitted out in proper sun protection wear 🙂 The shades are cool!

  12. Ah, yes, Mari. I love the 50+ spf swimwear from Target. Lyle’s sunglasses are also from Target, and I got those sweet shades for Baxter at the recent Hanna Andersson sale – only $6. The two of them are hilarious and awesome in those outfits. I am rather obsessed with that photo.

  13. Very exciting! Swimming is a huge milestone. Fun too!

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