Last summer, I had to pluck Katrina out of the water when she went horizontal and didn't know enough to put her feet back down.
Last week, she was barely OK with putting her face in the water for a moment -- a decent first step thanks to months of the previous swim place, but a far cry from where her brothers were thanks to their Water Babies experience (one that she never took to).
At age 4-1/2, Katrina was starting at a huge deficit compared to her brothers, but at least had been in water before and was OK with getting her head wet. I described her swimming level as "drowning hazard," but at least she was past the crying and refusing stage of many 4-year-olds. Not much comfort to a mom who'd like their kids to actually swim.
Today, Katrina is almost -- not quite -- but almost -- there!
She loves it and is SO happy and proud of herself.
Unfortunately, only one more swim lesson tomorrow. Still, this "immersion" (no pun intended) plan has worked well -- a lesson 3 days last week and every day this week (instead of one lesson a week all summer) has been far, far more effective, despite the logistical challenge.
Plus the quality and method of these lessons is night and day. Part of that is because of our quasi-private lessons -- not because cheapie me paid for them, but because no one else signed up for this time slot.
And though this is a selfish aspect, I SO much prefer outdoor pools. I love to swim myself (and have only gone once this summer, wah), but I can't stand indoor swimming -- or watching swimming indoors, as it turns out. I really like hanging around the outdoor pools and watching everything. I'm not alone in this; an extremely athletic swimming/marathoner friend also won't go near indoor pools (Helen Barker for those of you know who her).
Katrina's teacher seems to really enjoy teaching her; she's so enthusiastic and happy about it. She isn't usually a gushy kind of person, but you can hear her giggling and shouting happily from all the way across the other pool during her lesson.
But aside from joy in the water, Katrina's turnaround is nothing short of amazing. She was by far the most reluctant baby-swimmer I had (and frankly has never shown much athletic talent), but now she is by far the most enthusiastic swimmer. Gabriel was by far the most capable baby swimmer I had (and he has some natural athletic ability), but is unfortunately by far the most reluctant swimmer now.
Katrina is still in "drowning hazard" territory, but she's come so, so far. I wish she had another week of lessons, I think she'd actually be swimming, but we just can't make it happen. Still, I think her teacher will enjoy her last lesson tomorrow just as much as she will -- but no one moreso than me!