We had our final baby swimming lesson this morning. From now on we are moving to the next phase, toddler swimming lessons. There were some new routines and techniques introduced in this final lesson which I assume will be carried through into the toddler lessons.
It's just under a year ago that we brought our 6 week old baby daughter to her first swimming lesson. Back then she could barely hold her head up out of the water, today she was running around at the side of the pool trying to avoid capture.
A year ago on that first lesson (pictured below) I had wondered what progress to expect when Amélie turned 1 year old.
Now she is 13 months old the progress she has made has far exceeded my expectations. She is absolutely fearless in the water, she is happy to be thrown into the water, she will spend time underwater, she can hold onto the side, she will hold onto my back while I swim, and she can propel herself through the water.
Now onto today's lesson. The first routine was a glide swim. Usually at the end of the glide swim we let go of our babies and the instructor catches them and hands them to us. Today we were tested to do the glide swim without the instructors help. Immediately after we recovered our babies from the glide swim we were to continue the width in side holding swim position, then come back for the '1 2 3 hold on' that was introduced in the previous lesson.
I was first to go and it was pretty awkward transitioning from underwater glide swim to side holding swim position. At the end of the glide I kept hold of Amélie, tucked my knees to my chest and stood up. It was a little bit wobbly but the instructor didn't need to intervene. The '1 2 3 hold on' was straightforward enough and that was that.
We did a lot of the more familiar routines during the lesson, the picture is during one of the surfing manoeuvres. There were only 3 of us at the lesson so we got through too many of the routines to list. All of them are detailed in previous articles. After 'monkey monkey monkey' we did a rail jump with a difference. This is where you have your baby holding onto the rail and say 'name ... ready ... jump ...'. You then take one of their hands (their left with your left, or their right with your right), lead them off the rail supporting them with your other hand under their chest. Then swim them in a semi circle back to the rail for another hold on.
Today we did this through a hoop. The instructor held the hoop behind the baby (who is holding onto the side). The parent then puts their hand through the hoop and performs the manoeuvre just like usual. The first picture shows the start of the routine, I've just taken Amélie's left hand with mine so she is just holding onto the bar with her right hand.
The next picture shows the next part of the routine, Amélie has now let go of the side and is swimming through the hoop. We did a couple of these, Amélie holds on so well now there are never any problems. Sometimes we go to the other side of the pool where there is no bar, and all the babies manage to hold onto the side of the pool just as well without the bar.
Next up was another new routine. A hoop is held up and the parent throws a ball or floating toy through the hoop.
The baby is held in side holding swim position. The hoop is then submerged in the water. The parent says 'name ... ready ... go ...' and takes the baby underwater and let's go with a little push. The baby swims through the hoop and the parent picks them up at the other end and they chase the ball together. The first image shows the start of this routine.
The second image shows us at the end of the routine. You can see the hoop off to the far left. Amélie propelled herself about a meter and a half while she was underwater, I've just retrieved her before the picture was taken. We did this a couple of times, Amélie knew what was expected both times and really relished the task.
Nearer the end of the lesson the float came out. We did about 4 sets of feet facing out and 4 sets of feet facing in. Amélie takes huge tumbles off the float and loves it. The picture looks like I'm going to catch her, but I always let her hit the water and go under before I pick her back up. I wish I could post a video but we have to respect the other parent's privacy.
So next week we are starting toddler swimming classes, so this brings us to the end of the advanced baby swimming course, and indeed the baby swimming course altogether. I'll keep up the articles on the toddler swimming lessons though. Thanks for following our progress so far, and we hope you have found the baby swimming articles useful.