Our baby has just turned 8 months old, and today we took her on her 23rd swimming lesson. We got to do the glide swim which I had been itching to do for 3 weeks now.
Today we had another instructor, in all we have had at least 4 now over the 23 lessons. It's interesting to have a change now and again as you pick up different things from different instructors. We did a few of the old routines and a few of the new, the underwater hoop swim is much easier now I ask for the hoop on the opposite side. Amélie is enjoying the lessons even more than usual now, and she was laughing a lot of the time.
We went through the emergency procedure again where your baby is thrown in by the instructor (who is sitting on the side of the pool). You catch and allow them to go underwater as you turn them around to hold onto the side of the pool.
I'm not sure if I picked up on this when I explained this technique in more detail in a previous article if I did then I'd forgot. We were told that because this technique is in case they fall into the pool, we don't warn them with 'name ... ready ... go ...' because in real life we wouldn't be there to do that. I'd taken this to mean that we don't warn them at all, but in fact you do say 'name ... ready ... splash'.
The glide swim was the main part of the lesson today. We all had to do it without our babies just to make sure we were capable. The instructor came and held our babies one by one as we did our glide swims alone. Just a case of pushing off from the side and gliding underwater with our arms stretched out in front of us as if we were holding our baby. On my turn I tried to do it as gently as possible but I still went past the middle of the pool.
Then it was time to do it with our babies. I stood at the side and put on my goggles. I held Amélie in side holding swim position but much closer to me. I said 'Amélie ... Ready ... Go ...' took a breath and down we both went under the water. I pushed us off and held her out in front of me as I straightened my arms and we both glided underwater.
I aborted the swim before I wanted to, as the instructor was standing quite close in front of me marking the spot we were to swim to. It was a shame to cut the glide short but I'm sure I'll have plenty more opportunities. To think that I'd just been swimming under water with my 8 month old daughter, and she was comfortable enough during, and smiling after is pretty amazing. Next time I'll be concentrating less on the technique and will take time to watch her and savour the experience more.
You don't notice much progress during each individual lesson, but the cumulative effect if you do it regularly every week is very significant. I can honestly say that every time Amélie came up out of the water after each one of several underwater routines today, she was perfectly happy and no different than if I'd just been holding her above the water.
Before I end this article I wanted to mention a couple of things that are not going so well. Although Amélie can hold on to the side when she wants to, she is often too distracted to bother. The other thing that we are finding difficult is back floating. Today I tried most of the back floating techniques that we have learned, and Amélie is struggling to turn over onto her front so won't lie still. She used to float quite happily in any of the back floating positions. Next week I'm going to go back to the arm holding back floating, as she will find it difficult to turn herself over in that particular position.
All being well we will have another article up after next weeks lesson, we are having the Christening on Sunday so the article may be up on Tuesday rather than Monday. Remember to keep checking our diagrams, we are adding to them all the time.