Munchkin loves being in water but she can barely swim. She doesn’t seem bothered and believes she’s a good swimmer but I’m frustrated on her behalf and a little worried. With any other activity, I’d readily accept that every child is different, but swimming could literally be a matter of life and death.
I’ve been taking her to lessons at our local pool since she was a year old – she’s now five. The swim school there has quite a good reputation and used to advertise itself as award winning. I always wondered what the award was for. Perhaps it was a swimming certificate.
Until she was three and a half, I went in the water with her for lessons. She went through a phase of being scared of the pool, but got over it. Since she has been in the unaccompanied classes, she has tended to be one of the better ones in her group, but never the best and never good enough to get moved to a more advanced group.
She can swim about five strokes, then puts her feet down — every time… Her technique is good and she’s not afraid to put her face in the water. She recently asked me why she doesn’t get swimming badges any more. The truth is, I don’t know. If she knew how close to getting a badge she was, it might incentivise her to improve, but the leisure centre have changed their award scheme and badges now seem to be few and far between. I think she might do better if she was out of her depth during lessons, but that doesn’t seem to be an option. Most of her friends who go to lessons elsewhere have their 5 metre badge. At this rate, she might get hers when she’s seven.
So my dilemma is this: Do I accept that she’s a bit slow when it comes to swimming or do I find another swimming class? I’ve had a swim school recommended to me, but it’s too far from home. Also, for every swim school that one parent recommends, another parent says their child is struggling there. My other option would be to pay a visit to my swimming teacher uncle, but it seems a bit cheeky when I haven’t seen him for about four years and I don’t think he’s ever met Munchkin.
What are your experiences of teaching children to swim? Would you stick with the current swim school or try elsewhere? If you’re local to my area, is there a swim school near Worthing or Littlehampton that you’d recommend?