Growing up in the 1980s, swimming was a big part of my life. From age 6 until high school, I was on the swim team – oftentimes clocking 6-8 hour days at the pool (exercise and fun). Swimming was intuitive (or so I thought). While I was never the best swimmer on the swim team, swimming felt intuitive and I felt safe. (Oftentimes I proudly donned my pink (#6) and green (#5) ribbons over the blue (#1) and red (#2) ones. Hey – I liked those colors more!)
But now, as a mother with a 3- and a 5-year-old, I need to not make assumptions that logging pool time will keep us safe around water. Over last winter, we signed both of our kids up for swim lessons at our local club pool. Based on hearsay, they had a decent reputation for their swim programs. My son (then 2) was in the parent-and-child class and my daughter (then 4) was in an independent class. Between their classes, we had a scare that would forever shape me. At the exact start time of my daughter’s lessons – she got in the water and headed to the middle of the pool. She started to show signs of drowning in the relatively shallow water (3 feet, if I recall). She was flailing her arms in a panicked state. Luckily, I was still in the water with her toddler brother and ran to rescue her. So. Many. Questions. So much fear. She was suddenly terrified of the water. I was terrified, too.
I do not blame our neighborhood community club for this situation. After all, the teacher of the class was definitely the age of my grandmother (maybe even great-grandmother). I blamed myself. As a parent, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of all safety concerns involving children. In hindsight – I would have realized that this club’s #1 focus is not water safety. It’s one of a couple dozen offerings the facility offers – right there with tennis, karate, pickle ball, and cookouts.
I was thrilled to finish out those classes so I could enroll my kids at Goldfish Swim School. There, swim safety is their number one focus. No pickleball—no karate. The staff is fully trained to work with the children on every detail as it relates to safety, though and through. I now have peace of mind that our kids will learn important safety skills they need. The environment is very kid-friendly, non-threatening. And as a bonus – I’m seeing the classes and the progress reports building confidence in my kids. Just earlier this week, I overheard my daughter telling a stranger at Indy’s Child Camp Fair that she ‘graduated’ from a “Junior” to a “Glider”. She even told said stranger that she even has a pretty ribbon to prove it. If you’re considering effective swim lessons, Goldfish Swim School is a must-do.
Water safety tips from Andrew Joseph, general manager, Goldfish Swim Schools in Indianapolis:
W– Wear Your Life Jacket: This is one of the easiest ways to increase safety in the water. There are plenty of different types of life jackets to fit all sizes – pay attention to proper fit.
A– Act. Throw! Don’t go:Do your kids know what to do in a swimming emergency? They should ACT! Their first instinct may be to go towards the person having trouble in the water. Instead, they should throw a life preserver – and don’t go! That way, they aren’t putting themselves in jeopardy as well and are truly able to help.
T– Take Swim Lessons: You can start your child in swim lessons as early as four months old where they can begin learning swim and safety skills while building character through guided play.
E– Educate. Learn Swim Safety Skills: Key water safety skills can go a long way – such as the crab walk, properly getting in and out of the pool, going under water, rolling on their back, treading water, learning different strokes.
R– Respect. Play it Cool and Follow the Rules: Rules are there for a reason, especially when it comes to rules for the pool. Walk, don’t run; make sure an adult is watching; no horseplay. Review rules together as a family before setting your kids loose to enjoy the water.